Zackary’s parents removed the blindfold from his eyes to reveal the crystal blue waters with dolphins playing together. With excitement in his voice, the 5 year old asked if he could touch one.
“When we told him we were going to get in the water with one, the smile and the look on his face was priceless,” Zackary’s mom Jessicah said. “I will never forget the smile he got.”
Zackary, who has a life-threatening neurodegenerative disease, has traveled out-of-state many times for medical tests and treatments. Yet, in early spring, Zackary and his family were able to take a break from the daily challenges and enjoy laughter and sun together during Zackary’s wish to swim with the dolphins.
With the help of Florida-based Marineland Dolphin Adventure, Zackary and his family met one of the world’s most majestic animals – the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Zackary spent face-to-face time with a dolphin also named “Zac” through Marineland’s Dolphin Encounter program.
“My favorite part was when Zac splashed me with his tail,” Zackary said. “Zac felt like a gummy bear. I got to go swimming (and) give Zac a kiss.”
When Zackary was a toddler, a slight limp turned into more. His muscles began to deteriorate and doctors were baffled over his rare neuromuscular disorder.
"We still do not have a diagnosis... however we found out most of our answers in St. Louis... we were given all the details of Zack's condition of what will probably happen, including being terminal with no treatment plan."
From that moment, Zackary's parents began making memories together and soon after referred Zackary to Make-A-Wish Michigan.
“(Make-A-Wish) meant we had the opportunity to make an amazing memory with Zacky that will be impossible to forget. A memory that is irreplaceable... it gave us hope, a brighter outlook,” Jessicah added. “It gave us something to look forward to. Most importantly, it gave us memories.”