Good News and a Special Visit: An Update on Honored Kid Zach

by Nancy Swart
August 31, 2017

There’s nothing sweeter than a reunion with someone you love. Nancy Swart knows that better than anyone. Earlier this month, she had the happiest of reunions with her son Zach, who has been away from home to get treatment for leukemia. Read on for more from Nancy about the time they spent together, how Zach is doing since his bone marrow transplant and the news that made him smile.

Nancy and Zach

Nancy and Zach have a special moment together.

Zach’s dad, Tom, has been living with Zach in an apartment we have been renting in New York City, so that we can be close to the hospital for follow-up visits. It has been great for Tom to be able to spend time with Zach and I know Zach has needed some quality time with dad, so it has been a nice change to get some male bonding time.

I am back to work and I have not seen Zach for an entire month. I must say it has been the longest month of my life. It has been good for me to be back at work, but Gabe and I feel so lost without Tom and Zach being home. We keep ourselves busy, but I know for me it is hard to stay focused. I really need to see Zach to see how he is doing. Tom is great about keeping us updated and we have been able to video chat, but it is not the same as being there.

Today I went down to the city and saw my two boys. My heart was so happy. I just hugged Tom and Zach and it felt so good. I did notice that Zach looked so much better and more alert then a month ago. It was so good to see him smile and laugh. I have missed that so much.

Zach and his family before his bone marrow transplant

The family gathers before Zach’s bone marrow transplant. From left to right: Nancy, Ben, Tom and Zach, with Gabe on Facetime.

Zach is continuing to get stronger each day. When I saw him last month, he was tired and could only walk a few laps in the hospital. Today, day 54 post-BMT, he walked two and a half NYC blocks, which is approximately a quarter of a mile from the apartment to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

After fighting cancer three times, Zach is hoping that this time is the last time — thanks to a new therapy funded by St. Baldrick’s. Learn more about his incredible cancer journey >

He was a little tired after the walk, but he did not need his wheelchair. Just last week he could not make the entire distance without using the wheelchair when he got tired. It is a huge improvement.  He is really doing very well.

His doctor asked if he wanted to go home this coming weekend and Zach’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. Zach has not been home for nine weeks. We will still have to be seen by the BMT team at Sloan twice a week, but this is such amazing news.

Gabe will be so happy to have Zach back home. Ben will be home this weekend from college and it will be amazing to have all of my boys under one roof. It will be the first time we have all been in the same house since November. It will be good to starting getting back to normal.

We are so blessed.

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Read more about Zach on the St. Baldrick’s blog: