Okay, first of all, this thing has gotten huge - there
are truly some wonderful folks out there who've put the word out, and Eric is
really benefiting from all the donations. So thank you everyone!
Secondly, I wanted to update a couple of things on the page; namely, the issue
of Eric's condition. I'm sure he was quite chagrined at me focusing on the
hemochromatosis - that's actually not the worst symptom nor indeed the actual
trigger here. Some folks have (quite rightly) pointed out that
hemochromatosis is a chronic condition that's livable. Unpleasant, but
livable. So rather than continue on with the specter of that disorder,
Eric mailed me and outlined the full details of what's gone wrong:
"Bill, to clarify a point: Hemochromatosis definitely played a part in what
happened, but it is easily treatable -- once detected. All it really does is
raise one's sucseptibility to other conditions. What really went on was that in
early '04 I got the flu, and the flu that year stayed around a lot longer than I
expected. Usually you're over it in a few days, but the
average duration for someone who got it
in the '04 outbreak was something like six
weeks. I got lucky (sort of) and had it for only three. I
self-medicated by taking way too much Tylenol. Long about February Jackie
noticed that my eyes had turned yellow, and I'd become concerned over major
swelling of the tum which, oddly enough, was not accompanied by weight gain. I
went to the Doc, he took one look at me from across the room the moment I walked
in, and said "You're jaundiced! You belong in the emergency room!" It was a
Friday afternoon. He gave me a blood test and x-ray, muttering about why was he
wasting his time when he knew what the result would be. I asked him if he
wanted me to come back on Monday and he just laughed. He went off and made a
phone call, came back with a piece of paper with a doctor's name on it, and told
me to go immediately to Salt Lake City to check myself into LDS hospital. I
went home, showered up, and put a few things in a bag, then my Mom drove me the
hour south to SLC. I never got to see the guy on the paper, I asked the
admitting physician about him and he just laughed and told me he'd been told to
look for someone coming in who glowed like a pumpkin. I hadn't realized how
orange I'd become, but it was pretty spectacular.
So I went home after several days and thought I had it beat. Resumed a normal
life, the swelling and funky color eventually went away. Then some months later
I swelled up and turned orange again, and it was obvious that the cirrhosis was
permanent and irreversible, but could probably be lived with. After several
more hospital stays that was proven wrong, and here I am. "
So all you folks who were skeptical because hemochromatosis wasn't that bad
sounding or you knew it was livable: yes, you're right. And I apologize if
anyone thought I was working under pretense for starting off mentioning it.
With that said...again, if you feel leery about donating to Eric
directly through probably not the best-looking website ever put together,
please consider donating to the American Hemochromatosis Society (linked
below). Their need doesn't just go away because I goofed up the initial
description of Eric's disorder.
Eric Peterson Needs Your Help!
If you've ever played any of the Mechwarrior
computer games and gotten even a minute's entertainment out of 'em, please
consider downloading ePlanet and donating to the fund to help programmer Eric
Peterson get back on his feet. Eric suffers from a disorder called
hemochromatosis, a liver and blood disorder wherein the body's liver
literally poisons the sufferer by dumping too much iron in to the blood.
Hepatitis, arthritis, diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome are just some of the
symptoms of this terrible disease. The only possible cure, at this time,
is a liver transplant. That's where you come in.
In addition to writing the Mechwarrior computer game engine, which was used
for virtually all of the Mechwarrior II games (Mechwarrior 2, Ghost Bear's Legacy
and Mercenaries as well as being the code base for the Heavy Gear computer
game), Eric has recently coded a 3d terrain rendering program called Planet-E.
If you'd like to download it, feel free. If you enjoy it or if you enjoyed
the Mechwarrior games, please consider donating five dollars to help Eric out.
Eric's condition leaves him unable to work, and that means he has no health
insurance. That means that costly medical treatments are costing
Eric tens of thousands of dollars, and his hopefully-soon liver transplant will
be even more expensive.
Here's a short FAQ:
Q: Who is Eric Peterson?
A: Eric is a computer programmer, responsible for Mechwarrior 2,
Mechwarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy, Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries and indirectly
Heavy Gear. His most recent "hobby" project is a shareware terrain
visualization program called ePlanet.
Q: How can I trust you? How do I know this isn't a scam?
That's a fair question. The best answer is to let Eric speak for
himself. Feel free to drop him a line at
email@example.com - Eric
is a pretty cool fellow and always up (when his condition permits) to talk about
the ins and outs of programming, the history of the Mechwarrior 2 game
engine and it's subtleties, and just about any other topic.
Q: I'd rather donate to a charitable organization. Can I do that?
Of course; the best place to start if you still want to have a favorable
impact on Eric's life is through the
American Hemochromatosis Society.
Q: Planet-E doesn't work! Now what?
A: Be patient. Eric's working out bugs as his health permits.
Q: I thought you said he coded Mechwarrior 2! Why the hell can't he
get some shareware program working?
A: Because he doesn't have a few million dollars at his disposal and a full
QA staff there to nail bugs as they happen. Again, please be patient.
Q: How does the donation work?
A: Download Planet-E
(right-click and save as) and then click the Make Donation link below the photos
and go from there. It's through PayPal.
Here are some screenshots of Planet-E in action: