2005 Miracle Ambassador
Age 15 - St. Louis Children's Hospital
In October 2002, four year old Zach was diagnosed with Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous tumor of the soft tissue. Due to some unexplained and ongoing mouth pain, his mom, Cherrie, made an appointment with the pediatrician. The day of the appointment she noticed a lump in his cheek. When Zach arrived at St. Louis Children's Hospital for his appointment, doctors did several tests and found that the primary tumor was in his left jaw, but he also had multiple tumors in his abdomen below his heart and a lesion in his right calf.
Zach had a long journey ahead of him with intense chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery during his treatment. In March 2003, all tests showed that Zach was in remission, and he prepared for his bone marrow transplant. Doctors had done a stem cell rescue on Zach, and he received his own stem cells for the transplant. He underwent another round of intense chemotherapy to wipe out his immune system. Zach's road to recovery was slow and steady, and in May 2003, he was able to walk himself out of the hospital.
Zach was in remission for almost 4 years when his scans on March 27, 2007, revealed a shadow in his right lung. His cancer returned, and he braved surgeries, chemo, and radiation therapy through October 2007. He continued to take everything in stride as he faced another challenge in his battle against cancer.
During a routine scan in October 2008, doctors found a shadow at the top of his chest CT. Further testing revealed that Zach had thyroid cancer, likely caused from prior radiation treatments. Zach again underwent cancer treatment, and his mother says this was the easiest of the three battles he had with cancer.
Today, Zach is doing well and on follow-up for both the thyroid and rhabdo cancers. As of December 2013, Zach is five years cancer free. He loves sports, plays basketball, enjoys cooking, and is really active with the youth of the church. He now attends SLU High and works in the theater shop doing lights, sound, and sets.