Updated: Jul 28
For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed riding bikes, for fun, exercise, and commuting in Boston to Dana-Farber Cancer Center (DFCI), where I managed the CyTOF core.
In May of 2021, I graduated from Boston University’s LEAP Program with a MEng in Biomedical Engineering after I left DFCI the previous year to study full-time and start Ionic Cytometry Solutions (ICS). ICS specializes in providing data analysis and experimental consulting services in the high-parameter cytometry space and focuses on immune-oncology, cell therapy, and immune-therapy.
In June of 2021, my dad called me with news that his stage 4 colorectal cancer had metastasized to his spine, lungs, and liver. With my background, I knew right away that his prognosis was grim. I couldn’t stop thinking about dad and what I could do to help. I knew in my heart that I would regret it if I didn’t try to help and be there for my dad, in what ended up being his last months on Earth.
After discussing it with my wife, Ally, for a few days, and discussing the plan with my dad and his wife, Jerri, Ally and I packed up our two cats and some boxes of necessities and drove the 816 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Wilmington, Ohio to provide support to my dad and Jerri.
We dove right in with caretaking, helping to make sure dad felt our support and love more than anything at this point. Over the next couple of months, his condition worsened as the cancer spread and he entered Hospice care after a last ditch chemo effort was unsuccessful. One shining spot was that my dad lived directly across the street from the Foster J. Boyd, MD Cancer Center, an affiliate of the James Cancer Center and Clinton Memorial Hospital (one of his former employers) in Wilmington. Being so close to these facilities made his treatment and ER visits, of which there were many in the several months we lived with him, much easier to handle.
On the 15th of October, 2021, surrounded by my brother, Jerri, and I, with my wife’s hand on my shoulder, dad's hand in mine, and many of our close family in the room with us, my dad lost his courageous battle at the age of 52.
In his life, my dad followed in his father’s footsteps as a dedicated Scoutmaster during my brother and I’s time in Scouts (primarily with Troop 399 at St. Cecilia Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio); he worked his way up the ranks as a volunteer firefighter and EMT for Fairfax/Madison Place and LMFR fire departments, reaching the rank of captain; and he was an Emergency Room nurse for three decades taking care of others.
Hearing the many stories of the lives dad touched as a mentor and caregiver inspired my promise to him that I would ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge in honor of him after he passed. His life-long quest to serve others continues to inspire me and, although the venue has changed, the inspiration is the same.
I am grateful and humbled to ride for my dad, Michael ‘Mike’ Haas, and look forward to his guiding energy on my 101-mile ride to raise money for The James Cancer Center on August 5th at Pelotonia 2023!
In Addition, I hope to use this ride to raise awareness on the cancer risk to firefighters. Firefighters have almost a 100% increased risk for mesothelioma and significantly increased risk for various other cancers, including colorectal cancer. I have rarely heard this occupational hazard to some of the bravest men and women in our society discussed in the zeitgeist. I believe it is time for that to change. With modern technology and improvements in screening, we need to do better to protect those who protect us!
ICS strongly believes in giving back and will be matching all donations to Pelotonia through my below link, up to a total of $1,010, or $10 per mile I ride in Pelotonia 2023.
Please see the below links for the relevant donation pages. All proceeds go to support the James Cancer Center, where my dad received care:
Official Pelotonia website:
Eric Haas, MEng. Founder/CEO Ionic Cytometry Solutions Ioniccytometry.com 513-680-1787