Hometown: El Segundo, CAGame: UCLA vs. Oregon
Ten-year-old Zach loves to play hockey, lacrosse and soccer – especially with his little sister Sam. Zach is a loving big brother, a son, an athlete, a student and a pediatric cancer survivor.
In 2011, when Zach was 4, his parents started to notice bruising on his body and a lingering cough. After a trip to the UCLA Emergency Department, Zach was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). During the first year of his diagnosis, Zach spent 200 days receiving care at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Over the course of three years, Zach underwent countless chemotherapy infusions, blood draws, imaging scans and medical procedures. “The most interesting thing about that time is that if you ask Zach about his experience at the hospital, he doesn’t have anything negative to say,” Zach’s mother Kristen says. “He remembers the playroom, the animal stickers on the third floor and most of all, the people who cared for him.” Zach completed his treatment regimen in 2014 and is now in remission! Zach and his family have since joined our UCLA Pediatric Survivorship Clinic and continue to find ways to support others going through similar experiences. Kristen sits on the Parent Advisory Council at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, where she works with other parents to create an advocacy platform for our pediatric patients and families.
Congratulations to Zach and his family, whose courage and optimism are an inspiration to us all!