• Created in honor of Eric McLean, the Leukemia Ironman Fundraiser for Eric (L.I.F.E.) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to cancer survivorship by providing assistance to cancer patients in need, scholarship programs, and donating to cancer research laboratories. We will help draw awareness and contribute towards finding more effective treatments, and one day, a cure.

L.I.F.E. helps expectant father Casey Clarksen

On Thursday, September 10th, L.I.F.E. recipient Casey Clarksen underwent a major surgery removing a cancerous tumor next to his liver. The surgery was a success and he is on the road to recovery! We are excited to share such uplifting news for the Clarksen family as they prepare for the arrival of their new baby!

casey clarksen

Charlie Mathews' farewell: An unforgettable 16 years

The following is an article that was printed in the Herald Times Reporter on April 1, 2015, written by Charlie Matthews (pictured below).  The McLean Family would especially like to thank Charlie and the local newspaper for following Eric's story so well over the years.  Charlie, you are too kind.  We wiish you all of the very best with any of your future endeavors!

I will never forget Eric McLean.

He died at 28 in August 2012, a year after the Two Rivers man got married to Manitowoc's Cari Jaeger and following a nine-year battle with leukemia with multiple remissions and relapses.

I interviewed the newlyweds as Eric's life took another twist, and on the way back to the office prayed for a miracle cure that was not to come.

Before his passing, his last YouTube video, "Eric's Confession Final," was viewed a million times by a worldwide audience hearing him say at the end, "I love you all ... I hope you all live, long happy lives ... peace, love."

After 16 years with the Herald Times Reporter, this is my last day having the privilege to be a staff reporter interviewing interesting — sometimes inspirational — people, as well as to cover local and state politics and the Lakeshore-area business community.

Big River Running Company donates to L.I.F.E.

Big River Running Company, a running speciality store located in St. Louis, MO, made a generous contribution to L.I.F.E. this past Christmas 2014 through their community program.  Thank you so much for your donation!  You guys are awesome!

The following is an excerpt from an email sent out by Big River Running Company following their donation.

"Community runs deep within our mission at Big River: From our opening days we have been driven to support the dynamic running community right here in St. Louis. Our customer education clinics, trainings and camps help to foster this community by providing opportunities for hands on, in depth learning at all levels, ages and abilities.  By dedicating a portion of the registration proceeds to support charitable causes we are able to give back to the sport we love. When you learn with Big River, you give back too!

Last month, Big River Running had the opportunity to donate $500 to a foundation near and dear to our hearts. L.I.F.E. began in 2003 when Eric McLean, brother of former O'Fallon Big River family member, Mike McLean, was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Mike competed in the Ironman Wisconsin that fall for his brother, raising thousands of dollars for cancer research and the monniker Leukemia Ironman Fundraiser for Eric (L.I.F.E.) was born.  Team L.I.F.E. is a group of athletes committed to raising awareness, fundraising and racing to help other children and families affected by cancer. Eric passed away in August of 2012, but his legacy remains strong. L.I.F.E not only donates to important cancer research initiatives, but provides assistance and scholarship programs for youth affected by cancer.  

Thank you to L.I.F.E and for all of Big River's clinic participants for helping to make a difference in our community!"


  • The reason that these years have been the best is that I think that I might have had a somewhat positive impact on your lives and perhaps your understanding of what cancer is and what it can do, to both those of us that it has personally attacked and those of us who know someone who is going through it. -Eric McLean
  • I just want children to be left with a better life than what I was left with," he said. "I want them to experience the feeling I had in my life when I realized that I really mattered.
    ~ Larry Hisle
  • Realistically, I have two more Olympic cycles in me. I'm not going to let this beat me.  I've gained a lot of strength from you guys, if Eric can fight 5 times over I can overcome this one year of setbacks.
    ~ Chris Solinsky
  • Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men. ~ Albert Einstein
  • Never, never, never give up.
    ~ Winston Churchill
  • I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me! ~ Dr. Seuss
  • Once you choose hope, anything's possible.
    ~ Christopher Reeve
  • If you're going through hell, keep going.
    ~ Winston Churchill