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Zach Strong

Zach Strong
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Zach Strong
Hello, my name is Anna and I’d like to tell you about my best friend and her son’s fight against a lethal brain cancer that has a very poor prognosis. It’s a rare malignant brain tumor called Gliomatosis Cerebri.

I’ve been friends with Christina for over a decade. That entire time, Zach has been the light of her life, they’re best friends. Before Dan, it was just the two of them, and when Christina wasn’t working and Zach wasn’t in school, they spent all their time together. Because of that, he’s really not your typical eleven year old, he’s more mature. He’s also intuitive, empathetic, sweet, loving, and even though he seems older sometimes, he’s still a goofy kid that can make anyone laugh.

When Christina met Dan I was so happy for her. And Zach. She’d been a single mom ever since Zach was a baby. Zach loves Dan so much, anyone can see what a special relationship they have. Zach finally had two best friends! Dan and my husband Michael also have a lot in common, they both play tabletop games, so we easily all became friends, we often enjoy barbecues and game nights together. For a while it was nothing but great times.

During the height of the pandemic, Christina and Dan did what so many other people did, they made the decision to not let COVID slow down their lives. They got married. They had their second kid, Elena, on June 2nd 2021, and everyone was so happy. Zach is the best big brother. Right away he was offering to watch her, to help entertain her, and he can’t seem to get enough cuddles with her. Life was perfect.

A month after Elena was born, Zach started to complain of weakness in his left hand. The University of Michigan pediatric hospital is one of the best in the country, and not that far from us. They did the right thing, and took him there. It’s been a long diagnostic road that included a number of stays, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, lumbar punctures, CT scans, MRIs, and finally a brain biopsy. Roughly two months after the first stay in the hospital, they got a diagnosis. It’s a rare presentation of a Glioblastoma called Gliomatosis Cerebri. An aggressive brain tumor. There is no cure, and there are very few long term survivors.

No one can really imagine seeing their child go through painful procedures and hospital stays. No cancer is easy, especially for a child. Kids can be brave, but what he will go through would be terrifying even for an adult. Christina and Dan have told me just a little of what Zach has gone through so far, and I knew I had to do what I could to help. This is just the beginning. Zach is going to need full time care, so Christina has already quit her job. Zach is going to miss a bunch of school, so he’ll need tutors. Zach is going to need 5 days a week of radiation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, so they’ll be spending hours in the car. They need help.

I’m asking you, for my friend and her beautiful family. For a tough little kid who’s gotten a raw deal. Please, consider giving a little to help alleviate some of their out-of-pocket costs.