Zack Goes to the Pro Bowl!

Every Fall, sixteen year old Zack looks forward to football. Zack loves everything about football, from playing on the National Trail High School team to watching his favorite college and NFL teams and players.

During Zack’s freshman season, he noticed a pain in his ankle. After playing through it, he started to think he had a sprained ankle.  Zack went to the doctor and found out the pain was not a sprain at all, he had something much worse. Zack was diagnosed with stage 2 Fibroscarcoma (a rare cancer that occurs where fibrous tissues are found, most often in the limbs and the trunk of the body) and was then faced with the decision of having a fused left foot with a permanent limp, unable to run, or amputation. For Zack, the decision was easy. He loved football and wanted to keep playing so he chose amputation.

Zack was referred to A Special Wish Foundation- Dayton (ASW) by his aunt Amanda.  Amanda is no stranger to A Special Wish Foundation.  Amanda has been part of the annual Valentines Dance/Dancing with the Dayton Stars competition for several years.  In fact Amanda is currently the reigning champion with her partner Dr. Stephen Burke.  Upon hearing the news of Zack’s diagnoses, Amanda reached out ASW immediately.

 When asked what his wish was, it was no surprise to anyone that he wanted to go to the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida.  ASW reached out to the Anthony Munoz Foundation for help in granting Zack’s wish.  The Anthony Munoz Foundation could not have been more helpful and worked with ASW to develop a once-in-a-lifetime VIP experience for Zack and his family.

 Zack, and his family, spent the week of the Pro Bowl in Orlando as special guests of NFL Hall of Famer, Anthony Muñoz.  During Pro Bowl week, Zack and his family took part in the Play 60 Character Camp, several events held at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports venue.  Zack was also a special guest at one of the Pro Bowl practice sessions where he was on the sideline and had an opportunity to meet several of the NFL players.  To cap off an amazing week, on Sunday, January 27, 2019 Zack was in the stands of the 2019 Pro Bowl to watch the AFC knock off the NFC by a score of 26-7.

Following their Special Wish trip Zack’s father stated, “We had a great time, we will never forget it.”

Zack is now a sophomore and still on the football team, playing with a prosthetic leg. His coach, Mark Hoffman stated “He never quits, never stops and is just a great kid.” He continued, “With the way he is working and his attitude, I think everything is going to go his way.”

Zack’s wish was sponsored by Cruise the Gate, an annual car show in Brookville, Ohio whose proceeds go to ASW each year. Cruise the Gate was started in 2014 by two wish families who have decided to pay it forward and give to others. Cruise the Gate 2019 will take place on June 29.  You can find additional information on the Cruise the Gate Facebook page. Additional support was also provided by Honda of America in Anna, OH.

Stories like Zack’s are all too familiar with families in the Dayton and surrounding regions. We hope you will consider making a donation to A Special Wish Foundation – Dayton. When a donation is made, the money stays within the community and ASW is able to take those funds raised and make very special wishes come true to deserving local children suffering with a life-threatening illness.

A Special Wish Foundation – Dayton is the only wish granting organization located in the Dayton region and has been making special wishes come true since 1983. For more information on how you can be part of granting a local child’s wish, go online to aspecialwishdayton.org or call 937.223.WISH (9474).