After a prolonged series of seemingly unrelated and erratic symptoms, Zach’s pediatrician uttered the ominous phrase, "There's a mass and it has to come out." Words no parent should have to hear. It was the fall of 2006 when we found out our 5 year old little boy had a brain tumor. In a state of shock, we leaped into a whirlwind that included seven hours of surgery to remove Zach’s brain tumor. The pathology report was medulloblastoma. That brought another surgery for port placement to help with the anesthesia and meds needed for the 30 rounds of radiation and nine rounds of chemotherapy Zach endured next.
Along the way Zach had cerebellar mutism to deal with as a side effect of his brain surgery. His five year old mind was trapped in an infant-like body. He couldn't talk, eat, drink, or move with purpose. All he could do was scream and cry. Countless hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapy followed. When Zach made it home he began therapeutic horseback riding. It was three months before Zach could talk or walk again, and both were a tremendous labor. Zach had made it a long way in his journey back to wholeness, but he had a long way to go.
Now Zach is a busy 11 year old. He is in a regular fourth grade classroom at school. After school he is busy each week with homework, therapeutic horseback riding, karate, building Legos, playing video games and when the weather and schedules allow playing golf. Numerous follow up MRIs and tests continue to show no evidence of active disease in Zach's growing strengthening body.
Zach has been an immense blessing to our family in his battle with pediatric cancer. Sometimes you don’t realize how good you have it because you don't realize how bad it could be. Because we have seen how bad it can be, we know how great we have it.
My name is Karen Singletary, and I have two sons Zach (11) and Levi (9). I have been married for 16 years to my wonderful husband Tim. This year I have decided to 'Shave for the Brave' in honor of my pediatric cancer warrior son Zach who is a six year survivor of a brain tumor - medulloblastoma. When I explained to him what I wanted to do this year in his honor, his comment was, "as long as I don't have to do that again, I don't care." So, Zach, I will raise awareness of childhood cancer and support childhood cancer research with the goal of no child having to shave their head because chemo is making their hair fall out and so no child will have to lose their battle with cancer.
We ARE 46 Mommas on a mission to raise awareness, raise funds for research and inspire others to help fund a cure for childhood cancer.
Each year a new class of 46 Mommas is inducted into the cause to empower and engage mothers of children with cancer. The number 46 is significant. On average, each weekday, 46 families receive the news that their child has cancer. Through increasing awareness of childhood cancer and raising funds for childhood cancer research by shaving our heads, we hope to one day be a group that no longer needs to exist.