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Michigan Chivers: Heroes Among Us Gala

Millennium Club

210 South 1st Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA

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Event Description

Cliff and Jessicah Zink are two very special people with a heart wrenching story to tell. This couple, with their 4 children, were married last year and just celebrated their one year anniversary in August. The two combined families include Jessicah’s two sons Owen (7), Zack (5), Cliff’s daughter Keelie (6) and their youngest daughter, Ainzley (4 months). They have a beautiful family! The story we are bringing to you today is about their son Zack.


Jessicah had a normal pregnancy with Zack and as a baby he hit all of his milestones on time. When Zack was two years old he broke his femur. He recovered from that pretty normally until about a year later he was starting to limp after walking a lot. Jessicah first thought he was still trying to regain muscle that he lost from having his cast on his leg and he also didn’t have any physical therapy after getting the cast removed. Then the limping started to get worse day by day and he would complain that his legs were tired. Jessicah took him back to his orthopedic surgeon at U of M and he referred her to a neurologist. They first tested for muscular dystrophy which came back negative, along with hundreds of other tests. Zack kept getting weaker and weaker every day. She decided to take him to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri because that is where Cliff and her family were originally from. This hospital has the 2nd best neuromuscular clinic in the United States. Zack went through many tests; MRI’s, spinal taps, and much more. This is where they came up with Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia Type 1b. That’s what they thought it was until Jessicah just received a call this past week stating his genetic test came back and he does NOT have this specific disease. However, they told her he could possibly have one or two other types of genetic diseases. One being Spastic Paraplegia Type 7, however the telltale sign of that is increase muscle tone in his hips, which he does not have. The other one is called Spinocerrebellar Ataxia Type 5, but the catch to that is he would be the only person to EVER have it.


Their story is one that no parent could ever imagine. They basically live each day to the fullest never knowing when or if Zack will make it.


A quote from Jessicah.  

As for Cliff and I - it's hard but he has been the best supporter in this. I've talked to other moms who have had a terminal child and they all said the best thing to do is not lose hope of course, but come to terms with it. And that's kind of what I did. I still have my moments... a lot. But I don’t have a choice but to suck it up and keep calm. Because what’s crying going to do, right?


Want to keep up to date on everything with Zacky? Check out the Facebook group.


Also, we have attached a story about Zack that was published back in May of this year. It is a great read!

Map of Event Location
November 29th, 2014  8:00 pmNovember 30th, 2014  2:00 am