Zach was born a healthy, happy kid. But at 9 years old, he started having strange physical symptoms.
His skin began to gray. He started to lose weight. He was always tired. And he went between having little to no appetite to bouts of vomiting.
For 8 months, his condition went undiagnosed.
Then one day, when Zach was 10 years old and weighed only 38 lbs., he passed out and became unresponsive. He was rushed to his local ER, stabilized and transferred to Akron Children’s.
Zach had Addison’s disease, an extremely rare autoimmune disorder. Only 1 in 100,000 people have it.
With the condition, the adrenal glands located near the kidneys don’t make enough of a hormone called cortisol, which helps the body use protein, carbohydrates and fat. Cortisol also helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function while controlling inflammation.
With a diagnosis, the team at Akron Children’s started bringing Zach back to health. He became, as Julie describes it, a hospital “frequent flyer” because of numerous inpatient stays for treatment.
“I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am to Akron Children’s physicians, Dr. Van Sickle and the staff in that office,” Julie said. “When he’s there as an inpatient, he’s treated as though he’s at home – with love and genuine care.”
Today, Zach is a healthy 12 year old, but under close watch by his physicians. It’s been 2 years since his diagnosis, but he’s up to 100 lbs. and back to being active.
“Akron Children’s has given Zach a bright and hopeful future,” said Julie. “I’m so glad they’ve been a part of our lives these last 12 years. We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough!”
Hear Zach’s story and more like hers during the 16th annual “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon broadcast live on 98.1 WKDD Feb. 12 – 14, 2015. Do your part to support radiothon.