Eric Gilcris

Eric Gilcris in a Cancer Canknot shirt he designed.

The Cancer Canknot Golf Classic will be held Saturday, June 4, at the Williston Country Club. The event is one of the largest fundraisers for South Burlington-based Cancer Canknot, a grassroots organization dedicated to funding cancer research and supporting cancer patients and their families.

Eric and Anna Gilcris of South Burlington conceived the idea for Cancer Canknot after Eric was diagnosed with Grade 4 glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in 2011.

An aggressive type of brain tumor, patients often have a median life expectancy of less than one year. “His doctor told us 6 to 12 months,” said Anna. “But his next words were, ‘You fight like hell,’ and that’s exactly what Eric continues to do.”

Now a father of two and entering his 11th year living with his cancer, Eric is considered an extreme survivor, a term used to describe the less than 1 percent of patients who have lived with glioblastoma for 10 years or more.

“It’s a different kind of unknown now,” he said. “They can’t tell us what’s next because there haven’t been a lot of patients who’ve gotten this far.”

The Gilcrises founded Cancer Canknot in 2014 to help fund cancer research and support cancer patients and their families. To date, the organization has donated close to $70,000 to the Dana Farber Cancer Research Center. In addition to the golf classic, the couple created jewelry and apparel lines to spread the Cancer Canknot message and wrote “Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing,” a children’s book inspired by conversations with their son.

“We created what we didn’t have 10 years ago,” Eric said.

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