Eric Dolch continues to battle a severe form of encephalitis with his family right by his side

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. -- Father's Day marks eight years since Eric Dolch was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a severe form of encephalitis.

His father, Craig, a former golf writer at the Palm Beach Post and co-host of the Golf Exchange on ESPN 106.3, remembers it like it was yesterday.

"At that point it really hit me that what we were dealing with was not just another illness....this is something that can really change his life and it certainly did," he said.

Eric was 14 at the time when doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma. 115 days later he was gradually removed from the coma and spent three weeks in rehabilitation.

"I remember thinking those four months he was in a coma...I kept praying to God, saying please let him live and we'll deal with whatever we have to deal with afterwards," said Dolch.  "God did his part and now we're trying to do ours and trying to help him have as much of a life as he can."

Eric eventually made his rounds to hospitals along the east coast before returning home on  August 30, 2006.

Fast forward to today and Eric has been through 15 surgeries, including having a portion of his brain removed. He's also suffered thousands of seizures. His family has spent their entire life savings caring for him.

Craig started a foundation in Eric's name which is dedicated to raising money and awareness for the proper care and treatment for children with encephalitis while helping to find a cure for encephalitis and other types of epilepsy.

To learn more about Eric's eight-year battle with encephalitis and the 1st annual Eric Dolch Foundation golf tournament, CLICK HERE .

WATCH Emerson Lotzia's story on Eric and his family by clicking on the video link attached.

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