During the summer of 2005, Eric Dolch was like most teenaged boys, hanging out with his buddies at the mall, playing paintball and getting ready to attend high school at Cardinal Newman in West Palm Beach.
Then in mid-June Eric, 14, started complaining of not feeling well. Four days later, he was hospitalized at St. Mary's Medical Center/Nicklaus Children's Hospital in West Palm Beach after he awoke disoriented and unable to see well. Doctors diagnosed Eric with a severe form of encephalitis and he eventually had to be placed in a medically-induced coma.
A week later, Eric was airlifted to Miami Children's Hospital where he remained in a coma for 115 days while doctors waited for his seizures to get under control. After he was grdualy removed from the coma, he spent three weeks in rehabilitation at Miami Jackson Hospital before returning to Miami Children's in late November.
After another three-month stay at Miami Children's because of too many seizures, Eric went to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital from January to March of 2006, but had to return to Miami Children's Hospital in late March with more medical issues and remained there through August.
Eric finally returned home on Aug. 30, 2006 where, with his seizures finally under control, he had been able to make steady progress.
Now 17, Eric Dolch continues to make his recovery from near-fatal encephalitis with family and friends at his West Palm Beach home. This Labor Day weekend marked the two-year anniversary of Eric returning home after spending more than 15 months at Miami Children's Hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care, as well as hospitals in West Palm Beach, Miami and Boston.
Doctors still don't know exactly what Eric's long-term prognosis will be in many areas. They know he will face a lot of challenges in life, but we are hopeful he will continue to improve in the coming months.
Frequently asked questions about the Eric Dolch Children's Encephalitis Foundation.
Is the Foundation a non-profit organization?
The Foundation has applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit designation by the Internal Revenue Code. That process takes between six and nine months. Meantime, The Eric Dolch Children's Encephalitis Foundation is incorporated with the State of Florida (Tax ID number is 71-1000374) and can operate as a foundation until it officially receives that designation from the IRS.
Why was the Foundation formed?
After Eric Dolch, then a 14-year-old from West Palm Beach, Fla., was diagnosed with a severe form of encephalitis in 2005, his family decided to form a foundation to help other families deal with a loved one who has encephalitis and epilepsy-related illnesses. We not only want to raise money for research, care and treatment, but also raise awareness for epilepsy and improving the quality of medical treatment for children in the U.S.
How does the Foundation raise its money?
The inaugural Eric Dolch Children Encephalitis Foundation Golf Tournament was held July 13 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. A sold-out field of 144 golfers helped raise almost $20,000 for Eric's foundation. We will have another golf tournament next year. We will provide details in the fall. For more information, click here.
Can I raise money for the Foundation?
Absolutely. We are grateful for any support of people throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world who raise money for us through benefits, auctions, walkathon or marathon sponsorships. Please include basic information about your event or when you send us the funds you've raised. Unfortunately, due to our small staff, we are unable to provide direct logistical or personnel support outside of the fundraising events organized in-house.
When we donate money, is it tax-deductable?
Absolutely. All donors will be given a receipt that they can deduct from that year's taxes. Foundations are excellent ways for individual to ease their tax burdens with donations -- through either cash or stocks.
Will we be offering funding for medical research grants?
Yes. Exact plans on how to apply for grants will be announced soon.
How can I make a donation?
Donations are gladly accepted by mail or online.
To donate on-line click here.
The mailing address for donations is:
The Eric Dolch Children's Encephalitis Foundation
11770 U.S. Highway 1 Suite 303
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Can I make a donation in honor or in memory of someone?
Absolutely. Donate on-line.