Eric’s Story

Houston and Denver are the cities 31 year old, Eric Gensch has been proud to call home. Unfortunately, since June 2019, his view of the outside world has been relegated to what he sees from a hospital window.

Eric is facing a challenge which for many might mean total capitulation. However, for him, he draws on the meaning of his name, “forever strong,” and shows that this is a new battle to be won. With God and the support from friends and family, everything is possible.

In June of 2019, Eric contracted bacterial meningitis and received his care at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. The infection led to a cerebral abscess that required surgeries and intravenous antibiotics directly into the brain, naming just a few of the treatment options. These procedures compromised Eric’s mobility and his methods of communication. The infections were persistent and the obstacles immense during the six month stay in the ICU. For the following six weeks, he was monitored on the neurological floor of the same hospital as they addressed his medical needs. At this point of his journey, no one even knew if Eric was aware of his surroundings.

Recently, he was declared medically stable and transferred within the Medical Center to TIRR. The Texas Institute for Research and Rehabilitation is an internationally recognized hospital where miracles do happen. Within a few days of commencing therapy, Eric began to communicate by nodding his head. It has now been confirmed that Eric cognitively understands, is trying to communicate, and can hear. His daily therapies show improvement. This week he answered three step math problems through multiple choice selection, and his ability to read words was verified. He also has responded by moving his legs …the first sign of motion in over three months. This progress encapsulates his spirit. It shows his true nature as a fighter and the manner in which he lives up to the meaning of his name, “forever strong.”

For Eric, life has been filled with difficult situations. He was born with anomalies from a rare birth defect. His left leg was broken in utero and formed at a 90 degree angle. Before his first birthday, he had multiple surgeries in attempts to correct the deformity. The issue was not resolved and the options of amputation or bone lengthening were presented. Initially when Eric was 10, and then again at the age of 17, Eric underwent two leg lengthening procedures, using the Ilizaprov apparatus which slowly adds bone mass. Those approaches took months of painful time to complete, and the following years of rehab and relearning to walk, were beyond difficult in discomfort and intensity. Yet, Eric had a resolve and persevered with such a dignity that left many in awe. He proudly added 10 inches after both surgeries. He was determined to actualize his dream of playing basketball.

Two, short years later, Eric was faced with another formidable circumstance. It was determined that he had testicular cancer. This was especially frightening as he lost his brother, Michael, in 2002 from this same germ cell mixture. His sibling, Ryan, suffered a spinal cord compression from the malignancy in 2004, and continues to suffer from paraplegia. However, Eric conquered his cancer, and there is no longer evidence of disease. Unbelievably, in a story that reads like fiction, it was a motivated Eric who supported his youngest brother, Jonathan, when he received his cancer diagnosis, as a high school junior in 2009.

Within Eric, there is a positivity and determination that is magnanimous. He did fulfill his dream of playing basketball and was on the team during his time in junior and senior high school. Although he had to wear a large lift on his shoe, he embraced the opportunity.

Always conscientious as a student, Eric graduated Cum Laude from the University of Houston, with a degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. He was employed in that profession until this hospitalization. During his off time, his greatest joy was attending the Houston Rockets games, and as a season ticket holder for the past several years, he rarely missed a home event.

He is a fighter, one to never count as being down on the mat. Today, Eric is making gains, albeit slowly. However, he is now facing an obstacle over which he has no control. The insurance constraints are stifling his ability to keep this momentum from moving forward. In less than 2 weeks from this writing, Eric will be discharged because of the limit placed on rehabilitation by his insurer. His next destination will be home where home healthcare, supplies, and equipment are examples of the many things insurance will not cover. The out of pocket expenses are extraordinary.

Recent progress has been slow, but remarkable. His face projects the strength of character inherent in his personality. He has an incredibly difficult road ahead, but there is an optimistic energy in his eyes. Prayers are that one day he will walk again and sing his favorite music.

There is immense gratitude for the support which has been extended. Please remember to keep Eric in your prayers, and know that a gift in any form, is received with the greatest of appreciation. The emotional needs and exhorbitant financial demands are significant, and he would be honored for you to travel with him on his journey of being “forever strong.”