You all know him as Zacker Alexander . . .
We are raising funds to assist Zachary with his medical needs--prescription medication, doctors appointments, surgeries, before and after care, etc.
The following detail comes from my sister, Charlene, as well as bits and pieces from me and my mom.
Please read the following as Char tells her and Zachary's story:
My son, Zachary Acosta, has had a battle with his health since he was born. At birth, the doctors only gave him a 5% chance of survival due to meconium aspiration, and so much of it, that the doctors quickly administered a new procedure called ECMO. He was the 11th baby in Lutheran General Hospital to ever have this procedure done.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream of a very ill baby. This system provides heart-lung bypass support outside of the baby's body.
Believing that he would not make it through the night, they called a priest to come and read Zachary his last rites.
Miraculously, Zachary survived the night!
For the next 33 days, he endured a grueling fight in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Due to his lung damage, he developed acute asthma, and was in-and-out of the hospital, on nebulizer treatments and inhalers for several years.
In 1994, after turning five years old, Zachary had already been sick with exhaustion, he was listless, tired, and had no energy whatsoever for a young boy. He'd also sustained bruising, and was vomiting.
Several doctors later, they'd diagnose him with sinusitis, or explain that he had a simple cold, or it's simply fatigue (for a five-year-old?), and explained to me that he was just fine.
I then noticed that he had severe bruising in his mouth. Knowing that something was much more serious than what was "diagnosed", I immediately rushed him to the doctor--again.
Dr. Lambrou examined Zachary's mouth, and when I saw her facial expression, I knew that this was bad. She asked me if I could get him to Lutheran General Hospital "STAT". I did so right away.
While there, they drew blood from him and sure enough, it was bad.
The doctor stated that he had bad news and good news, and which did I want to hear first.
I asked for the bad news first.
He replied, "Well, he has leukemia. The good news is that is was the best cancer to have--ALL, which stands for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia."
ALL is the most common type of leukemia, affecting nearly 75% of kids who have this cancer of the blood cells. With treatment, most recover.
Leukemia is basically the bone marrow not producing the correct cells, but rather bad cells. It is a type of cancer that affects the body's white blood cells (WBCs).
If too many lymphoblasts (a certain type of WBC) are produced, a child will develop acute lymphoblastic, or lymphoid, leukemia (ALL). This is the most common type of childhood leukemia, affecting about 75% of kids with this cancer of the blood cells. Kids ages 2 to 8 are more likely to be affected, but all age groups can develop ALL.
Thanks to advances in therapy and clinical trials, the outlook for kids with ALL is promising. With treatment, about 85% are cured.
He underwent spinal taps galore, bone marrow biopsies to see how bad it had actually progressed, if it was in his spinal fluid, or his cranial cavity/brain.
He was set to a four-year protocol of Cranial Radiation, Chemotherapy, two weeks of Radiation.
At the age of 9, he was done with the chemotherapy, and was diagnosed with HSP.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) is a condition that causes small blood vessels to become swollen and irritated. This inflammation, called vasculitis, usually happens in the skin, intestines, and kidneys. Inflamed blood vessels in the skin can leak blood cells, causing a rash called purpura. Inflammation causes blood vessels in the skin, intestines, kidneys, and joints to start leaking.
He overcame the ECMO, the cancer/leukemia, the spinal taps, radiation, chemotherapy. and cranial radiation, and HSP.
He has been sick on-and-off ever since.
Early to mid-September 2017, Zachary began looking a bit pale, and some days he looked like he had purple dots under his eyes. He also had a large sore on his gums, just above his two front teeth, and it bled off and on and off and on again--severely. He had a very difficult time eating without having this sore bleed out.
September 12, Zachary was at his brother Max's place, and was extremely fatigued. He was sleeping more than what is normal, and he was not eating. He had been bleeding severely.
On the night of Friday, September 15, into the early morning hours of Saturday, September 16, as he woke to use the bathroom, he was unable to walk, and suddenly passed out. He bled severely and lost a LOT of blood.
Max immediately called an ambulance, and Zachary was rushed off to the Emergency Room.
He required a blood transfusion, since he'd lost so much blood. They gave him a total of eight units of blood, with an additional two units of plasma.
They took him to get an ECG, and gave him MORE blood . . .
The ER doctor told his brother, Max, "this doesn't look good".
Once again, Zachary is fighting for his life.
We now come to you, as we seek your help, for now he is in need of a liver transplant, which is very, very costly.
He has no insurance, and has lost his employment due to his medical condition, and he requires before and after care for the rest of his life. He was a caretaker to my Mom and to me.
Just one of his medications alone costs $2,000, and this for a mere two-week supply.
Due to our not being able to afford this exorbitant amount, on a bi-monthly basis, they have swapped it out for a medication that he can "get by on", but he truly should be on the former medication here mentioned.
Our entire family comes to you, humbly, asking for any donation you can afford to give.
The Lord has brought Zachary through SO MUCH, and we have a firm faith that He shall do it again!
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I do hope that you understand the urgency in his medical needs, past, present, and future.
He has two live donors lined up, and we will post further updates as we get further detail from the doctors.
My sister, as most of you know, is disabled, and bedridden. She was been diagnosed with a condition in 2012; although, she suffered with this condition for several years, it was only officially diagnosed five years ago.
My sister, Char, was a single mother for many, many years, and raised three children all alone, with the help of my mother, and other family when and where needed.
Imagine raising a family as a single mother of three, with one of the three childred struggling medically through the years.
As a Make-A-Wish Foundation recipient, Zachary was able to be accompanied (to Disney World) by our parents in place of a spouse since Charlene was a single parent.
I honestly admire her and Zach's strength through the past two--nearly three--decades, and yet, the battle ensues.
We ask you, in Jesus' name for your help.
God Bless You! and thank you . . .
Auntie Gracie and Grandma, on behalf of Charlene and Zachary . . . and siblings, Jessie and Max
Here is Zach with two of his favorite uncles . . . Gerardo and Greg. xoxo (Sporting their favorite team--Dallas Cowboys).
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