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Zach’s Story

Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in November 2009 at the age of 14. Like so many other kids diagnosed with osteosarcoma, Zach endured several surgeries and months and months of chemo.

In June of 2012 Zach learned that the cancer had spread and he had run out of effective treatment options.  He had maybe a year to live.

To say goodbye to his family and friends, Zach wrote a song called "Clouds" that was made into a video. The song and video went viral and have touched millions (11 million and counting) around the world. Zach's life was featured in an award winning documentary featured on the YouTube Soul Pancake channel called "My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech" - it has reached over 13 million viewers.

Zach died on May 20, 2013.

The week of Zach's death "Clouds" reached #1 on iTunes, as well as #26 on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 list and #1 on Rock Digital Downloads. His band, A Firm Handshake, released several other songs written by Zach and his songwriting partner, Sammy Brown, on an EP called Fix Me Up. The EP also topped Billboard charts - #1 in the Folk category. And in September 2013, four months after Zach died, the Clouds video won an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy for musical composition/arrangement.

Zach's legacy of hope lives on in his music.

All of the proceeds from downloads of "Clouds" goes to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund which funds a cutting edge research at the University of Minnesota by a team of researcher who have dedicated their lives to finding a cure for osteosarcoma.

To date, nearly $900,000 has been raised through Zach and A Firm Handshake's music and through private donations.

On May 6, 2014 a book  called "Fly a Little Higher" (Thomas/Nelson Books a division of Harper Collins)  written by Zach's mother, Laura Sobiech, will be released.

For more information about Zach's story and legacy, please visit the following websites:

http://www.childrenscancer.org/zach/

http://flyalittlehigher.com/

Latest Journal Update

Some Thoughts on Simon of Cyrene and Our Cross

Today is Good Friday, and I’ve been thinking a lot about Simon of Cyrene. He’s mentioned only briefly in Christ’s passion, just one verse in three of the Gospels, yet he’s mentioned specifically and by name in each of them (even his children are named in the gospel of Mark 15:21), which leads me to wonder why? Why did this random man, who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, get his name spelled out in a story that changed the world so radically that even death could not stop it? Who is this guy and why does he matter to us?

Simon of Cyrene is a character with whom we can connect because we understand how it feels to have unexpected and unwelcome crosses crash into our lives. With a little imagination, we can understand the fear and humiliation he must have felt when he was dragged into such a gruesome scene. He didn’t deserve it! He was just a man minding his own business. He woke up one morning. Got dressed. And the next thing he knew, he was being forced to carry another man’s cross.

But was it really someone else’s cross?

I used to limit my reflections about this brief vignette.  Simon of Cyrene was nothing more than a commercial break in the bigger story. He was there to promote the Christian ideal of helping out a neighbor in need. And surely, that is part of the lesson. But in recent years, I’ve come to a fuller understanding about what’s going on here.

The cross wasn’t only Jesus’s – it was Simon’s too. Neither of them deserved it, but its weight still rested squarely on each of their shoulders.

Crosses will come, they are a part of life, and we have to decide what to do with them – pick them up and follow Christ, or stay put and thrash about under the weight.

Simon was the first person in salvation history to pick up his cross and follow Jesus (Lk 23:26). Every Christian is called to do the same. We don’t get to sit on the sidelines and watch passively as if at a parade; we are called to be active participants in this journey. Each cross is different – some carry fear, pain, humiliation, loneliness and so on, but the path is the same, all leading to some form of death. But, when we follow Christ it doesn’t end there.

Like Simon of Cyrene, at the end of our journey, we must lay that cross down at Christ’s feet. By doing so, we unite our cross with His. Only then can we look forward to what is beyond death. The resurrection.

Peace,

Laura

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Comments

47 Comments

Patti Evans
By God bless! Patti
Amen!!
Dana Goodman
By Dana Goodman — last edited
Hi Laura:
I just finished your beautiful memoir of your incredible boy. I watched Soul Pancake's My Last Days as well--and of course I listened to Clouds over and over. I was so deeply moved and cried my eyes out. When people share their vulnerability, pain, disappointment and fears it helps others move through their own grief stories. Thank you for being a part of moving me though my own pain. My boy's name was Zach also. He died May 2 2010 of a brain tumour. Your Zach reminded me of my Zach. Zach's dad also died of cancer--it has been pretty ugly and painful. I could relate to so much of what you shared. My memoir came out in August--it's called In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning. I hope I can touch others and show them that Jesus has never left them during their darkest moments. Here is the free download link--I'd be honoured if you could read it. Bless you Laura. You give many people hope. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/520620

Dana Goodman
Elizabeth Ossowska
By Elizabeth Ossowska
This is a great message for everyone, even non-Christians... thank you.
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2 people hearted this
Jean Kelly
By Jean Kelly
Thank you for the beautiful perspective. The Bible has many stories - small and large. God Bless you and your family.
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1 person hearted this
Donna Lochridge
By Donna Lochridge
An awesome read. As I read I could tell you had been through all you wrote.
margo pedersen
By margo pedersen
Nicely said
Claudette Bougie
By Claudette Bougie
Laura, what a gift you have in writting.
Thank you for sharing at this Easter
Season, awe inspiring.
God bless and Happy Easter to you and your family
Joelle Bump
By Joelle Bump
Good morning Laura. This is one of the most beautiful things I h read this season! Life most definitely has many challenges and heartaches. I love God with all my heart yet sometimes I want to lay down and quit. I have watched my vibrant sister battle brain cancer for 11 1/1 years. She has had multiple strokes, is paralyzed on her left side, and has dementia from all the radiation and strokes. Now my husband has a brain tumor deep in his cerebellum. We face an unknown future. I h been reflecting so much on Christ's journey knowing He is beside my family and me. Yet somehow your words have found that raw place and put things back in their proper perspective. Thank you for always being real and sharing from that deep place in your heart. Know that God used you today on this beautiful Easier Sunday to put hope and courage back into someone's life!
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3 people hearted this
Vicky Ewing
By Vicky Ewing, Louisville KY
Beautiful insight. Thank you for sharing.
Justin Esser
By Justin Esser
So beautifully stated and how true!