Mike Uncorked: Zach Attack! A Van-tastic Cause
By Mike Butler
Wolfville has some incredible people in it! You must agree that when someone refers to another local here in town, it usually doesn’t take too much description before you say “oh yes, I know them.” Personality, community spirit, and charm all add up to make some people stand out. I made a new friend this week named Zach, and if I thought I was popular and loved within the community, I got nothing on this cool character! Zach is one of those wonderful people that makes Wolfville special, and Zach needs our help everyone, so take a read and hopefully you can lend a hand!
Zach and his mom Rebecca chatted with me about the very busy summer ahead for them to raise money for an accessible van for Zach, which is much needed as he gets older. Rebecca told me all about how they ended up in the Valley: “I grew up by the sea in Sambro. I came to the Valley to attend Acadia University in 1984 and, like so many, fell in love with it. I left and then came back, left and then came back, then finally stayed for good. Zach was born September 4, 2005, after a difficult pregnancy that involved bed rest at the IWK for two months before he and his identical twin were taken at 29 weeks through a Caesarian section. His twin passed away five days later, and we stayed on in the hospital for another two months. Zach has had more than his share of hospitals, in and out for various surgeries. The most recent was a 12-hour back surgery for scoliosis, but he’s a trouper and inspires me everyday!”
Zach is 13 going on 14, and in grade seven going into grade eight at Wolfville School. Zach enjoys art and math class the most, and also doing his job in the morning collecting the lunch orders and delivering snacks to staff. He is very excited when Kings Point to Point and James pick him up every morning and take him on his newest adventure! Zach will be the first to tell you what makes him unique to him, starting with being the only wheelchair in school, but there’s so much more than that! Everyone who’s met Zach leaps at the chance to sing his praises and tell you about how incredibly considerate and kind and wise he is.
Outside of school, Zach likes to be home with his mom and cat Olive, and of course his giant stuffed horse Heavy Neigh Neigh. You may have seen Zach and Heavy Neigh Neigh dri0ving around town last year with Zack Clarke, his caregiver. It was the Zach/ Zack Attack and with the horse in tow, you couldn’t help but smile!
Every other weekend Zach is with his dad in Kentville or camping with him in the summer, which is one of his favourite activities. Zach also enjoys hanging out in his fort, playing net ball, and most importantly checking the drains in the neighbourhood to make sure they are clear. In the summer, he attends camps at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, Camp Rising Sun, and Conductive Education camp in the city. Zach also rides at Free Spirit Theraputic Riding, skis at Martock, and surfs at Martinique Beach. And this year he is going to try waterskiing, just to add that to his list of fun accomplishments!
His mom boasts, “he is a very special intelligent and inquisitive boy that can tell you how to right an overturned semi (‘you need a second low line’), or remind you where you left your key, or how to redesign your house. It surprises me everyday the information that’s retained and how much pride he takes in informing others!”
And now, it’s up to the rest of us to give Zach a much-needed hand. His family and many friends are fundraising for a specially-adapted van so that Zach can continue to do all the things he loves to do. There’s many events happening to raise the money needed. Over the June 7-9 weekend, there were a few yard sales as part of Port Williams days where all the money went to the Van Fund, and they raised $3500.
The next big event will be a concert at the Al Whittle Theatre with T. Thomason and guest on July 13. Tickets can be purchased online or at The Market store on Main Street in Wolfville. And then on July 22 there will be a barbecue outside Carl’s Independent in Wolfville, from 11am-2pm, so make sure you mark your calendars for those events. Many more events are being planned including a silent auction, a chicken dinner, and something special for the Labour Day weekend, so it should all add up to a new van and adVANtures for young Zach!
A GoFundMe account has also been set up through this link: gofundme.com/zach-accessible-van, and through Facebook at “Zaccessible van” (get it?!). To my little buddy Zach: all the best and many happy travels in the new van! Thank you everyone! We are a community and we take care of each other! You make me very proud!