The Zaching Against Cancer Foundation (ZACF) was founded by the late Zachary Lederer and his family and friends while he was fighting his second battle with brain cancer. Zachary, a resident of Ellicott City, passed away at the age of 20 in March 2014, but not before making a tremendous impact. Zachary was first diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 11. His prognosis was grim but following multiple surgeries, radiation and extensive rehabilitation, Zachary was in remission. Zachary spent time meeting with other cancer patients, volunteered for youth sports programs, and managed Centennial High School’s football and basketball teams. During his freshman year at the University of Maryland, Zachary was a student manager for the men’s basketball team. Sadly during the basketball season, the unthinkable happened – his cancer had returned.
Following brain surgery, Zachary struck the strongman pose and insisted that his father take a picture to show he was ready to fight and to encourage others to be strong. His cousins posted Zachary’s picture on Facebook and struck the Zaching pose to offer support. The Zaching phenomenon took off and thousands of people worldwide posted Zaching pictures. Just three days after surgery, Zachary was back on UMD’s basketball court. He attended classes and games as often as possible. He participated in fundraiser and community awareness projects, gave speeches and met one-on-one with other patients. Despite the challenges, he said he was living the dream. “If it wasn’t so difficult, it wouldn’t be worth it,” he said.
Zachary recognized how important it was to have a support network and he appreciated that his family could meet the financial burden associated with treatment. It pained him when he heard about patients who faced the additional stress of being without family support and/or financial hardship including challenges such as transportation, co-pays, groceries, utilities, rent, medical supplies and more. By partnering with hospitals and oncology centers, ZACF identifies patients in need of help that falls outside standard medical treatment. In addition to direct financial assistance, ZACF offers complementary activities such as massage, music, wellness programs, days of beauty and assistance obtaining cannabis to alleviate treatment side effects. ZACF also provides college scholarships to Maryland high school graduates affected by cancer and funds research internships. All ZACF activities are intended to give strength, courage, determination and hope to patients and caregivers.
ZACF can be reached at 443-319-5394 or at www.zachingagainstcancer.org.