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Zack’s Story

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Thanks for checking out Zack's site. I'm sure he will appreciate knowing how loved he is. You can also sign up for journal update notifications below and post messages to Zack in the guestbook.

[Saturday, September 6, 2008]:

As many of you know, Zack suffered a serious head injury last night (Sept. 5th) during a high school football scrimmage. He was airlifted to the trauma unit at Boston Medical Center, where he arrived in a coma and had emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain and to remove a blood clot. He is now in a medically-induced coma in the ICU.

We are going to try to use this site to provide regular updates of his recovery. You can sign up in the "Journal" section to receive automatic notification of journal updates as we enter them.

We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received, and covet your continued prayers for Zack.

....

[Monday night, September 8, 2008]:

.....

Dear Friends,

This is Pat (Dad) writing to give you an update on Zack.

I really can’t find words right now to explain how much I appreciate you and how much it has meant to me to experience such an outpouring of love from family and friends of Zack all around the country and even around the world.

At some point I hope to give you a longer update of how God has been ministering to me and to our family, but I simply can’t yet capture that in words. I can tell you that it has been incredibly deep, powerful and meaningful. I have definitely experienced grief and sorrow unlike I have ever known, but I also have met and experienced God in ways that I hope I never forget and can soon find time to put into words.

Today Zack’s CAT scan was unchanged. The doctors said that was neither good nor bad. What was good was that Zack continued to respond well to their means of managing the swelling in his brain. Swelling typically continues through the fourth day which is tomorrow and then tends to stop although it can go on for up to eight days. In sum, Zack is in stable but critical condition.

Not only Zack’s football team but his whole school has really come together around this situation. Today one of Zack’s dear friends, Donny, with whom he was baptized only a couple of weeks ago, requested that the school observe “Zack McLeod/> turn-back-the-compliment-day” because Zack is so well known for returning any compliment he receives with an even better compliment.

Also, at the morning assembly, Rebecca Upam, the head of school, read a letter that I will post later—a letter that I wrote yesterday morning on Zack’s birthday that is my best attempt to capture how I think Zack would want his classmates to respond.

Again, I am overwhelmed by your gracious response to Zack’s accident as well as overwhelmed at how many lives have been touched and blessed by him.

He truly is something very special.

Hold Fast,

Pat

....

[See the Journal for a posting of Pat's letter to the BB&N community]

Latest Journal Update

From Zach’s Ceremony: What People Appreciate Him

Dear Friends, 

A week ago, I sent you written responses from Zach's ceremony on Sept. 6th.  The topic was what people miss about Zach.  Here are the written responses to what people appreciate about Zach. Many people wrote and then spoke these thoughts to Zach at his birthday celebration after the ceremony.  If you were not able to attend the ceremony or party and want to send a written response, see the directions in the last post.

Zach, yours is the face that pops into my head and gives me hope and encourages me when the difficult question of “Why God allows suffering to happen?” Watching your faith and joy as you have endured trial after trial convinces me that the Holy Spirit is at work in you and that with that assurance then our faith in the God who is present is not in vain. Thanks, Zack! Love you! 

Inspiring and constant friend to our son. The Monday before your injury we found you kneeling (asleep) by his bed—thank you for your prayer life! Also, you ate frosting on hot dog buns with BK that same day. I can picture you guys standing in the front of our frig laughing.

Thank you for your exuberant JOY! We love you!

Zach was so wonderful working with children. I remember him in the nursery on Sundays at Park Street Church playing guitar to the little children, some only a few months old. They loved to hear him sing and strum. It was so nice to see a teenager willing to take the time to entertain children. Not many teens are willing to do that. 

I am so grateful that Zach’s wonderful personality is still always on display. His big smile, his warm hugs, the enthusiastic high fives are always there. His love, humor, warmth and joy will always be with us. 

The blessings of Zach and the McLeod family is the way all of you bring the presence of Jesus Christ and His way to all of us. It’s real. It’s caring. It’s love. Thank you for mentoring my wife and for being a friend to me. May our great God find a way to return to all of you one hundred fold!

Knowing and visiting Zach has brought out the best in our son. We are so grateful for the positive impact he has had on his life. Zach’s kindness and loving spirit are very much alive in his friends. 

My eyes are even on the Lord, for only He can release my feet from the snare.” (Ps. 25) I asked Zach, “When your foot is caught in a snare, where do you look?” He pointed straight up to heaven. I told him he is preaching this verse with his life. He teaches us to not look at our snare but upon the Lord who rescues us.

Zach, there is no one I know now, and I am confident there never will be anyone, who emulates the joy of the Lord like you do. I wish you the happiest of birthdays! McLeods, thank you all for the impact you have made on my family and me, for wonderful years of friendship. I speak for all our whole family in saying how thankful we are for you. 

I was always flattered that you wanted to have guitar lessons with me. I am so very glad that we started the journey to rock guitardom when we did. I am afraid you taught me more than I’ll ever impart to you. You awoke a part of me that has been sloping against the wall for too long; the motivation to return to being the man of God I was intended to be—thank you. Continue attacking your guitar. Let’s keep trying to get together for lessons when time permits and thank you for the more important lessons. 

Thank you for being in my life. I didn’t know you before the accident, and I can only imagine what an awesome young man of God you must have been. But one thing I know for sure is that YOU ARE EVEN MORE AWESOME NOW! Despite the circumstances, you continue to be the sweet aroma of Christ, and everyone around sees your genuine love for Him. Thank you for your steadfast love for Christ and your smile.

You are a blessing because you love your God, because you praise with your whole heart, because you pray with such joy, because you give his love unconditionally, because you comfort us with your smile and that deep look of understanding… thank you. You minister to us every visit.

“Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Zach, I love the way you love the Lord with all your heart. You’re an inspiration! Much love.

Always a remarkable boy. Zach so touched me when we were at Mallory and John’s engagement party. I suddenly was overwhelmed with emotion at all the changes that had taken place in all of our families in the years since we stopped meeting together as family group. I kind of shrunk back into the shadows hoping no one would notice. Zach made his way straight across the Pearson’s deck and put his arms around me and gave me a big hug. It made me cry more, but in all the right ways. God is always near. 

I am so thankful for the role model you were to our son when he was young. 

I know God is real because of Zach, Tammy, Pat, Chelsea,Nate and Soren. I know there is a supernatural world because of Zach’s radiant, joyful, intimate relationship with Jesus.

Zach, I have written already about how I miss seeing you in action on the ice. But I have learned that the gifts I saw so many years ago in one form, remain in another. Thank you for your strong will and your gentle,kind spirit.

Zach has always had this inherent quality of knowing the right and true thing to do in any situation. I have always cherished his company and guidance. I doubt I will meet many more like you in my lifetime. I remember at a ceremony for one of our classmates he put his arm around his mom— that sweetness has endured. 

I love Zach’s smile and how clearly the Holy Spirit shines through him. It’s apparent that his faith in Christ is as solid as before the accident—he just lives it out and is used by Christ in different ways now. But I love seeing the highlights of how the Lord continues to use Zach to make an impact for the kingdom and have an impact on others for eternity. 

I am consistently encouraged by Zach to love people exactly as they are. It is a true, pure love he exhibits to all, and it makes them feel accepted. 

Zach, you show me what loving God with your whole heart looks like! Thank you! You always bless me with God’s pure love when I am with you!  

Zach gives the absolute best hugs! I love how much you light up when you see your friends; there is no better feeling. I love the way you love the Lord and really enjoy prayer! You encourage me to be better in everyway! YOU ARE THE BEST! 

My favorite thing about you is your everlasting optimism,hope, and positive attitude. I’ve always been a worrier about people, things and failure, but you have with me, as you do with all those you meet, encouraged me to surmount my own limitations and cultivate my strengths. I think of the sleepover we had at your church when I was terrified that I would not fit in, being new and not very religious. You made me feel so included and at ease, and we spent the whole night staying up watching movies and eating junk food. Then there was the time we climbed onto the roof with our guitars and amps to play music to everyone walking by on the street. I would have been far too timid to do this alone, but you encouraged me and after a few minutes people joined in singing with us from the building across the street. You inspire the best in everyone you meet and are a living example of how to embrace positivity and be open to possibility. 

Never stop smiling Big Z! 

I am so grateful for the open arms and enthusiasm (unmatched by anyone else) that greet me, every time I get to see Zach. He rocks so much and never ceases to brighten my day. Much love to all of you guys. 

Zach, you welcomed me into your life and family when I first came into Boston. You were the first to call me Aunt Jena! I am so thankful for you. 

I love he way Zach worships Jesus and the way he prays and prays and prays. Thank you, Zach! Love.

The joy of the Lord can be your strength. He loved on my kids so well and made them feel like the most important person in the room—that example enriches our life. 

I love seeing Zach in church on Sundays! Hugs from Zach make my day, especially when things have been really tough. Other people want to let go so quickly, but Zach grips you tight! And Zach doing offertory with Chris Lewis remains one of the top three amazing God-moments of my life. With much love. 

I love the way Zach still lights up whenever God is mentioned and glorified. I love his high-fives and hugs and that his face lights up whenever he sees me. 

Zach, your joy and servant’s heart has been such an inspiration for me since we were kids. I am so thankful for the ways you love people so well. Your love for the Lord and for me has been such a blessing. Happy Birthday, my dear friend! I love you! 

Zach, your reputation proceeds you. Your joy is contagious.Your love demonstrates Christ’s love in amazing ways. It is my joy and honor to know you. I look forward to many more years getting to know you more! (and speaking Russian with you!) 

Zach, thank you for praying for my family and me. Your sincere prayer was such an encouragement. Love praising God together! Keep singing with your heart and your lips and your whole body. 

Zach, I love your love for God—your willingness to do His will regardless of what it is. I am inspired by your prayer life. Hope I can pray more like you. 

Zach reminds me to be grateful for the things I have, to stay positive, to trust God through struggles, and to love others unconditionally, like Christ. 

Zach, we love you! You have been such a huge blessing to our family. We think and talk about you often. We love how we see Jesus in all that you do and who you are.

Zach has taught me to be as joyful as possible at all times and to all people. The affect that Zach has on all people that come in contact with him is so cool! It draws people so close to Christ, and that changes the world. 

Thank you Zach, FOR LIVING OUT THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, IN ALL HIS GLORY, WITH JOY AND LOVE! You BLESS ME GREATLY! 

So thankful for Zach’s vivacious personality, infectious smile, profound faith and trust in God, and love for Christ and others. XO 

I am grateful for the motivation Zach gives me. He helps me persevere when things get hard. 

Zach, thank you for always making me feel welcome, loved and special. Your hugs bring me great joy! 

Zach’s accident happened when I started studying OT at UNH, and his accident why I am now an OT. Seeing his recovery and the hope in his life was truly what inspired me to be an OT and see that change and hope in the journey with others peoples’ lives. I think of him often as I think about where I want to work and what I want to do as an OT. He has inspired me to work with others with TBIs and join in the journey. My life is changed by seeing how God’s grace and mercy is an intricate part of that, and I am excited to see where God takes me as an OT. I am so thankful for Zach’s example, his motivation, inspiration and testimony of God’s faithfulness. So much love and thanks. 

Zach, you continue to inspire all those around you. Thank you.  We love you. 

Some of my fondest memories: summer days by Fred and Sandy’s Lake House- tubing wars, water skiing, fireworks, fishing; visiting Boston-playing video-games projected on the ceiling, pretending to be Harry Potter, playing at the park. We would go months, even years without seeing each other and still to this day you are always excited to see us cousins. I know you’ve touched us as an extended family. You have instilled a greater appreciation for life in all of us.  For those who appreciate your love for God, I am always so impressed with your total surrender to Him. Mostly though, I love you for being you, and I love your enthusiasm for life! Everyone recognizes it, and it’s infectious. 

You as a family are a blessing to everyone’s life you’ve touched. You guys exemplify the strength and joy of a family rooted in Christ.Thank you so much for your wisdom, guidance and prayer. Zach, your joy for life and heart to love and serve others has inspired many.

A good way Zach has contributed to my life since the accident is that he has been a reminder to me to put others first, which I have done many times just due to remembrance of Zach and the person he was. I was also able to play in the 3-on-3 tourney for him three times with my friends, and tell them about his story and how he was an amazing person. 

Zach, there are so many things to share of how much a blessing you are! Your spirit of inclusion and great love for people,specifically to your own family, is an amazing inspiration and example! Thank you for all your hugs and being who you are—who God has created you to be!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

You have taught us all to see and know God through you and your family. God challenges the best the most. We love you, Zach. Your smile and eyes are as pure as your heart. 

Zach, you live life unfettered. You show us what is means to have unfettered love for others, unfettered joy in all circumstances, unfettered fun no matter the limitations, and unfettered faith in our Lord Jesus. You witness daily that in our weakness, He is strong. I pray our family would be as bold and unfettered in following Christ in our lives as you have been in yours!

The gift of deep, unshakeable, unconditional love has penetrated through the hearts of thousands of people since Zach’s accident. Praise Jesus that we know how to “Take heart. Let His love lead us through the night.”

Two things I want to celebrate about Zach: 1. The picture of him kneeling in prayer by his bed 2. Him being the most gentle of gentlemen as he danced with my daughter at the Silvestri wedding. 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart… yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Zach’s smile.

His unrelenting devotion to God inspires me every day. His grace and unselfishness is my center. 

I appreciate how Zach truly lives in the moment and is genuinely delighted by even the smallest thing. 

Zach, you are such an inspiration and bring joy to everyone you meet. How lucky I am to have shared time with you at BB&N. 

Zach’s courage and joy. Courage in facing all challenges.

I am always blessed to pray with Zach, to pray for Zach, and to be prayed for by Zach.

His life is not over, and we all still share life with him. And his hugs!  

God’s glory cannot be hidden!


With gratitude for your continued love and prayers, 

Tammy