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It may sound odd, but sometimes a cancer diagnosis can be a relief of sorts for a family exasperated at hearing from doctors over and over again that nothing is wrong with their child. Such was the case of Zaccary Connolly. Zac was born with one of his kidney’s smaller than the other, however multiple ultrasounds never showed that this would be a health issue for Zac. Shortly before his second birthday, Zac became very shy and withdrawn, he carried his head at an odd angle, he had many infections and was severely constipated. Zac’s mom Angela had taken him to the doctor’s several times, but they diagnosed him with separation anxiety or other minor ailments. When he stopped walking and eventually stopped eating after her turned two, a distraught Angela took Zac to the hospital where blood work was finally drawn, x-rays were taken and Zac was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. He was given a 30 percent chance of survival. Angela, although devastated, was somewhat relieved to finally have a diagnosis and a plan of action.
Zac underwent six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, surgery to excise his tumor, high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant, 12 sessions of radiation and six months of immunotherapy and Accutane. He is now getting his energy and appetite back and after a round of scans, considered in remission.
Zac has shown incredible strength and courage at such a young age and although cried when he was scared and protested taking medicine, he also smiled when no one else could and provided comfort to those much older, including Angela, reassuring her that he would be ok.
Angela continues to hope that her little boy who recently started preschool and loves anything Disney or Thomas the Tank related, will continue to blossom and experience all of the things children, teenagers and young adults should – from hanging out with his friends to denting the family car! Mostly, she wants him to remember where he came from and to give back to the world that helped so much during their journey.
“I’m all fixed Mommy!” – Zac Connolly (after hearing he was in remission after treatment was completed).
Information provided by Angela Connolly, Zaccary’s Mom
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