Meet Zach

by Avis Matsuda, St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 2, 2018
Zach with a sign

Zach is a cancer warrior. He is courageous, strong and has fought cancer three times.

Diagnosed when he was 6 years old, Zach beat cancer for the first time after nearly four years of treatment. Then, at age 11, he knew it was back. Zach powered through almost three more years of treatment with a positive attitude.

Zach posing next to a creek

But it wasn’t long before he learned he had relapsed again. Although he was devastated, he bravely told his family, “I can do this again as long as you are with me.”

This time, Zach received CAR T cell therapy, a revolutionary new treatment from a St. Baldrick’s-funded researcher, where Zach’s own immune cells were engineered to attack the cancer. This prepared his body for a bone marrow transplant from a perfectly matched donor, his older brother Ben.

Zach with his brothers

After months of hospitalization, Zach went home to a hero’s welcome. He’s anxious to get back to doing the things he loves: fishing, swimming, hunting and hanging out with friends. Zach also has a new best friend in a new puppy named Buddy.


The family is looking forward to vacations together at the lake or the beach and backyard campfires with friends.

Zach’s mom, Nancy, is proud of her son.

Zach with his mom
Zach with his dad

She said, “Zach has always fought the best way he knows how. He just keeps on pushing forward and does not complain. When he has a good day, he makes it a great day. He always finds something to laugh about.”

Zach with his parents

That amazing fortitude has served Zach well, carrying him through three battles with cancer. Now, he can look ahead to a future as a cancer survivor.

Zach is one of five St. Baldrick’s Foundation 2018 Ambassadors, representing the thousands of kids touched by cancer each year. Say hello to our next 2018 Ambassador …

Meet Brooks