Zach was born missing half his heart. Although only half the size, he still loves with more passion then anyone I know.
Twenty years ago HLHS Hypo plastic left heart syndrome was considered the fatal “blue baby” syndrome. Thankfully today, the efforts of research and funding the AHA help provide these babies are surviving! I have only to look into those deep brown eyes to see the precious gift our little boy brings into our life.
Zach has been through three open heart surgeries and continues to fight heart disease every day. Living with just two chambers in his heart, he will always need medication and intense cardiology check ups to monitor his condition. The possibility of his heart wearing out is very real to us, and very scary. We hope and pray that technology and research will continue to provide HOPE for families like us and a future for kids like Zach.
Zach enjoys being outdoors, water skiing and riding horses. He gets cold and tired before other kids do and he has to work a little harder to keep up with his class. Zach is my hero, he is so strong and brave and has taught me more about faith in his short life that anyone I have ever met before. He is a gift, a special gift of love that we treasure with all our hearts.
Zach has given me a purpose and a mission to spread the need for heart disease awareness. He has given me the passion and the courage to share his story with others to continue the fight against heart disease. I do this in his honor and in the memory of those whose hearts have been mended in heaven.
Nicole has a dream….. a dream that some day there will be no heart disease (see her poem). From the moment her baby brother was born she has loved and protected him and now she is passionate about fighting the disease that he will live with for the rest of his life.
It all started her kindergarten year when she brought home a flyer about the Jump Rope For Heart event her school would soon be doing. She knew this was a way to help kids like her brother who have been born with heart defects. Together we helped her raise funds and share her brothers story with her school. In order to help more kids she declined any thank you gifts/prizes so more money could go to help others.
Nicole watched as I became a volunteer for the American Heart Association and spoke at many Jump starts about how the funds rasied by JRFH helped save Zach’s life. Nicole is now a volunteer herself and has her own PowerPoint presentation that she does on behalf of the AHA. She especially enjoys talking with K-4 th grade. She wears a special bracelet given to her by a favorite Uncle that reminds her of her dream to fight heart disease. She speaks with love and passion and hopes that others will understand the need to keep fighting this sad disease, for the love of her brother, Zach.
I Have a Dream: by Nicole T
I have a dream that one day this nation will find a way to fight heart disease.
I have a dream that one day, there won't be any hearts to fix.
I have a dream that one day, parents won't have to go through a chance of losing a child.
I have a dream that we will find a way to stop this disease.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day these kids can run with the other kids.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, these kids will be survivors.
This is my hope and my prayer. With this prayer and a lot of faith we will be able to cure this sad disease.
This will be the day when doctors will say its a miracle.
I have a brother with this disease named Zach.
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