A Gift from God is the only way to explain what Zachary is to Mary Ann and myself. Through months of weakness, struggle and pain, he continues bring smiles to the faces of everyone he meets. He is the kind of child that wont eat the last cookie until he has asked if anyone else wants it. How honored I am to be dad to such a wonderful son.
Zach is eight years old and the oldest of our three sons. A very intelligent and bright child, always asking questions and not just why, but wanting to know the true meaning of how things work. He is always looking for something deeper than the average child. Zach was diagnosed with medduloblastoma, a form of brain cancer in on July 21st of 2009. In the months prior to his diagnosis he was a very active boy that thought sleeping was a waste of time. He felt that he could use that time taking something apart to see how it works and then trying to get it back together. With a terrific love of the outdoors, he would like nothing more than to spend his days, hunting, fishing, riding his bike or driving around on the golf cart. When he is not busy doing these things he also loves playing football and baseball. One of the reasons that we found the tumor was his decline in ability at the end of the baseball season.
Zach was the starting first base man for most of the year and then he started having trouble controlling where he was throwing the ball. Soon after that he complained about seeing double and not being able to catch the ball. This followed with him throwing up every morning. Even though we spent a great amount of time at doctor’s offices and seeing a specialist we were not able to find the cause of these symptoms. On July 19th we were all outside and Zach threw up but it was different, this time when he stood up he complained of extreme pain in his head. Two days after that I asked our chief of anesthesia to order a head CT and then on July 23rd the tumor was removed after a 9 hour surgery. The tumor was lying directly on the brain stem. From the removal of the tumor to now Zach has been battling weakness on his left side and continued double vision. That’s where this adventure with childhood cancer began for Zach and our family.
I spoke of Zach riding the golf cart; this is the most fun to him when he can have his brothers, Ryan age 6 and Chase age 19 months with him. He will spend hours riding around the yard with them on the cart. He is truly a big brother to Ryan and Chase, ever so carefully looking after them. Always willing to share whatever he has with anyone. Many times he gives up what he wants in order to make others happy. We were able to attend a Viking’s game this year during his break from radiation. When they went to get Viking’s helmets with horns on them, there was only one left. Even though, Zach had been talking about having one for a week he was sweet enough to let Ryan have it.
Such a compassionate child, he and his mother went to a local store here in Memphis to look for a Christmas tree for their apartment in the Target House. They looked at all kinds of trees, large and small. Zach picked out the smallest and most humble looking tree there. He told his mom if this tree was an old, lonely man on the street we wouldn’t just leave him there! Why should we leave this tree here? So now the plans are to take this little tree and decorate it with wonderful and colorful ornaments to give it the chance it deserves to be beautiful.
Filled with faith and love is the most comprehensive way to describe Zach. Zach has a strong faith in God and knows that all things work to the glory of God. He is a constant reminder to all that know him, of the strength and power of Christ.