There’s a knock at the Zink family front door. Zack’s dog, Cabbie, springs to life, barking enthusiastically. Cabbie is the newest addition to the Zink family, an emotional therapy dog that arrived at their home on Tuesday. Zack named Cabbie after his favorite baseball player, Miguel Cabrera. The two are already inseparable. Zack wheels his chair to the front door where a wreath of baseballs hangs. Cabbie wedges himself through the door the moment it cracks open.
Standing at the front door holding a bag of goodies is Paws, the Detroit Tigers beloved mascot. Zack immediately does ‘The Lasso’ enthusiastically with his arms and Paws reciprocates. Zack is laughing, loving every minute of it. For a moment, all is right with the world. You’d never guess that Zack likely has only a few precious months to live.
Two weeks ago I posted Zack’s story. Only a year prior Zack was a happy, healthy 5-year old boy running and playing with his classmates in Detroit. Then suddenly, Zack was assailed by a still-undiagnosed neuromuscular disorder.
An MRI revealed that his sensory nerves are developing well but his motor nerves are dying. The disorder is crippling Zack one day at a time. It robbed him of his mobility first and now it’s bearing down on his lungs. His immune system is weakening. The Zink family was told to “expect a harsh winter.”
Faced with the option of cloistering their son away and robbing him of precious life experiences, Zack (who only knows he’s very sick) is living each day to the fullest. He recently went to High School Prom and danced the night away. Not long thereafter he joined the Superhero Training Academy in Detroit and became a superhero for the day.
That’s where the Chive Community enters the story. The family’s old minivan was on its last leg, its frame cracked under the weight of the heavy makeshift wheelchair lift. The van couldn’t bring Zack to his doctor 45 minutes away. The Chive Fund stepped up and had a new ADA minivan rushed, complete with a remote-controlled ramp, rush delivered to Zack’s house. The Michigan Chivers began organizing a fundraiser for Zack, a superhero-themed Gala to pay for his continued medical care. The event is on November 29th and tickets are available RIGHT HERE!
Zack’s family is optimistic about the fundraiser and added generously, “Beyond Zack’s immediate medical needs, we want to take care of as many people as we can. If there’s extra money we want to help out other groups like the Superhero Academy. We want to pay it forward.”
Zack loves the Detroit Tigers. “He prefers to watch a Tigers game instead of cartoons.” His favorite player is Miguel Cabrera. Miguel always varies his bat position prior to swinging depending on how he feels at the plate. To a young boy, it looks like Cabbie is being playful. In our original post we asked the Detroit Tigers organization to get creative, anything they could do to make Zack’s day would be welcome. They delivered.
Within minutes of the post going live, we were contacted by the Detroit Tigers. They were already making special plans. Word about Zack spread quickly. His father Cliff said, “He’s kind of a celebrity around here.”
A few days ago, Paws the Tiger showed up at Zack’s house. Paws brought everything from Tigers t-shirts to signed posters, even a scale model of Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown Trophy. The smile on his face (below) says it all. Since the Tigers are no longer in season, the Tigers are taking him to a Redwings Hockey game soon as well.
Here are some highlights from Paws’ visit…