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Longtime Knights Ferry Local Battles Lymphoma
“Papa” Eric Ulrich is pictured here with his granddaughter Paisley Vargas. Paisley’s mother, Melissa Vargas, is currently trying to raise money to help with Ulrich’s medical bills as he battles Large B Cell Lymphoma.

Eric Ulrich’s name may sound familiar – as his step-daughter, Melissa Vargas, characterizes him as “that really nice guy, you can’t go into a store without somebody knowing him.”

Ulrich is currently battling Large B Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive cancer that has him posted at UCSF awaiting frequent treatments. He was first diagnosed in November of 2019, and after a series of events is now switching to a more appropriate treatment. Vargas reported that he is currently finishing his first round of R-ICE chemotherapy and will soon go in to receive a stem cell transplant.

“I can’t tell you how many people are praying for him and are hoping for the best,” Vargas relayed.

Ulrich is known for being a particularly involved citizen in the Oakdale and Knights Ferry communities, as part of the Odd Fellows, a member of the Quarterback Club, and a volunteer for the Knights Ferry Water District.

He lives in Knights Ferry with his wife of 32 years and works as a general contractor. He attended Oakdale High School, graduating in 1977, and now lives in his childhood home.

“He’s always been a very kind person,” Vargas continued, “he’s been the kind of person who pulls everyone together.”

Vargas, alongside Matt Ulrich and Cheryl Ozbirn, have been working to raise money to aid Ulrich’s treatment; everything donated goes to his treatment at UCSF. The support from the community is already visible, as businesses like Oakies, Denair Lumber, and Oakdale Florist have donated gift certificates and baskets that they will soon be raffling off. A family member created a T-shirt with the lime green lymphoma cancer ribbon and artwork of Yosemite on the back, which is available at Vargas Printing. Furthermore, there is a bank account open at Oak Valley Bank for a direct donation.

Ulrich’s GoFundMe page (which can be found online at has currently raised $16,200 of its $46,000 goal, and his family is immeasurably grateful for the community’s continued support.

“We appreciate what everyone is doing and everyone pulling together,” Vargas shared. “We definitely can’t do it on our own.”