Zackie wasn't just any little boy, he was an inspiration to all the many hearts he touched. He also was the son of my very good friend, Heather Hamilton.
Before I was a mother, I would have told you that losing a son would be heartbreaking. However, now that I'm a mom, the sadness I feel for Zack's family is immeasurable. I've spent a lot of time crying over the loss of this beautiful little boy and wanted to share his story with all of you.
Zack was born in September 2007 with a congenital heart defect known as Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage (TAPVD). At two and a half weeks old, Zack underwent a procedure to repair his heart. Zack’s survival at that time was the first of many miracles in his life.
Zack also had several other anomalies, including hearing loss, global developmental delay, feeding issues, a gastrostomy tube (G-Tube), seizures, and fluid in the brain. Though he had no official overall diagnosis, the genetics team discovered Zack had a deletion of the 12th chromosome. This deletion is the first recorded case in the world, making Zack a very special and unique little guy.
Although just 3 years old, Zack touched many more people that he ever could have realized. Life is best measured by impact and not duration. In that way, Zack lived a life of incredible importance.
To honour this amazing little boy, Heather and her family are helping to raising funds to dedicate a room to Zack at York Central Hospital decorated with his favourite character – Elmo. Zack spent a lot of time at York Central each winter. The staff on the floor would fight over who could be his nurse and would often shower him with gifts and toys when we were there. He was their little hero and they, like all of us, loved him dearly. When he died, the nurses and staff on the Pediatric floor (5E) wanted to honour him by having a room dedicated to Zack.
You can help the Hamilton family make this dream a reality by making a tax-deductible online donation to help ensure Zack’s memory continues to live on. They will be decorating the room as Zack would have wanted…lots of Elmo murals, stickers and colour for the children to have a comfortable and fun room during their stay. They have already lined up donations from paint companies, artists and even entertaining equipment to be donated to Zack's Dream Room. When the room is ready, it will have a plaque outside the door with his name for everyone to remember the amazing child he was. Of course, there will also be hosting a Grand Opening with Elmo to entertain the kids as Zack would have wanted.
Be sure to follow @zacksdream on twitter or email the Zack's Dream Team at: [email protected]