Zach meets “DA BEARS”

“Zach loved meeting his favorite team”

Zach PainterZach has always been an avid sports fan and dedicated athlete. He loved playing football and devoted as much time on the field to the game as he could. However, sudden knee pain and swelling benched Zach and left him on the sidelines in 2012.

As the pain continued and swelling persisted, Zach was referred to the University of Iowa’s Sports Clinic. An MRI diagnosed Zach with Ewing’s Sarcoma and revealed that the disease had already lead to irreversible bone deterioration. Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare, cancerous bone tumor found in children most often between 10-19 years of age.

One of the most common manifestations of the cancer is in the femur, and this was the case for Zach. He underwent surgery to remove the 13 inches of his femur devoured by the sarcoma, and the portion of his leg from his hip to knee was surgically reconstructed with a steel rod in place of the bone. He then underwent 14 rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a stint of radiation to treat the cancer that had subsequently metastasized to his lungs.

Through Zach’s process of diagnosis and treatment, there has been one thing that has served as a great outlet for his frustrations, football. Zach knew that getting to meet his favorite team would bring joy back into his life.

Zach and his family were sent on an all-inclusive trip to Chicago where Zach finally got to root for his team in person. Zach was able to attend a Chicago Bears practice where he met the players, toured the field and got a lot of autographs. On Sunday, Zach sat VIP as the Bears took on the Buffalo Bills.

While the team may not have been successful during the game, they will always be No. 1 for Zach. We would like to thank all the generous Guardian Angel sponsors that helped make Zach’s dream come true:

  • The Chicago Bears
  • Chicago’s Essex Inn
  • Giordano’s Famous Chicago Pizza
  • House of Blues Chicago
  • Brasserie by LM
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium

In October 2014, Zach had his 9-month scan and was declared cancer-free.

UPDATE: As of February 2, 2015, Zach has been cancer-free for one-year!

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