CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Sept Day 10: Tailgate scheduled for Sunday...Panthers and pediatric cancer
Zach Ramsey was 15-years-old and a student at Myers Park High School when he was told he had Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare cancer. It was Dec. 23, 2002. At the time, 250 adolescents in the country had it.
He spent 42 weeks in chemotherapy and radiation. After four months in remission, the cancer returned aggressively. The cancer took a brutal physical toll. Zach died three months short of his 18th birthday.
After reading this post, I encourage you to watch this video about Zach. It's good for the soul this Sunday morning.
Zach's parents, Mary Louise and Jim Ramsey, are wonderful people. They still talk about Zach, making sure he's a part of their lives as they move forward. Every year they host a football tailgate in his honor. The tailgate starts Sunday night at 4 p.m. I can't wait to go.
Zach loved the Carolina Panthers. While he was fighting, he met part of the 2003 Superbowl-bound team. He told his parents he wanted to use his own money to start a foundation to help other kids at St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital, at the time Presbyterian Hospital. That's where Zach went for treatments.
He established The Zach Ramsey Children's Cancer Fund. He gave instructions to his family to continue to raise funds when he was gone. Zach was doing all this while being really, really sick.
Wise beyond his years, it was his way to leave a legacy.
After Zach's death, Mary Louise and Jim tore themselves apart trying to figure out how to honor their son's request "to continue to raise funds" in a manner consistent with what Zach would want. They considered barbecues, black-tie galas and golf tournaments, but nothing felt appropriate.
"So I thought about what really made Zach happy," Mary Louise said. "I remembered that in its best form, charity is simple and unpretentious. It was suddenly clear -- we needed a tailgate."
The 10th annual tailgate is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. A few hundred of us will be watching the Panthers take down San Francisco.
PS: Don't forget to enjoy the video.
PPS: In case you missed them: