Zack’s Story Created Zack’s Dream Room

by J-Stacknik

Zack Hamilton's short life was the inspiration for the creation of Zack's Dream Room.

On March 10, 2011, the world lost a very inspirational little boy, Zack Hamilton. He was bright eyed, smiling and had a particular fondness for the Sesame Street character, Elmo.

Zack was born in September 2007 with a congenital heart defect known as Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage (TAPVD). At two and a half weeks old, Zack underwent a procedure at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital to repair his heart. He also suffered from hearing loss, global developmental delay, feeding issues, a G-Tube, and fluid in the brain. With so much going against him it is surprising, it was a miracle that he actually lived three and a half years. His short life comes with a story that tugs at your heart strings but out of it came something good.

Zack’s mother Heather Hamilton, documented Zack’s story in her daily blog. From his life at home with his father Paul and his brothers Ty and Jayden, to his many stays at Sick Kids and at Richmond Hill’s York Central Hospital. You can read Heather’s blog at Telling My Story. The stories are full of inspiration but tinged with sadness at the same time and give a real glimpse into how a parent deals with a sick child, especially one with so much going against him.

In his short three and a half years of life, Zack and his mom would make regular visits to York Central Hospital to deal with his reoccurring pneumonia that happened during the winter. In those three years the doctors, nurses and other health care workers got to know and love Zack like one of their own children. When they had to give him a needle, take his temperature or administer any other medical procedure, the staff figured out the best thing to do so that he wouldn’t cry, was to sing his favorite songs. The nurses used to fight over who would take care of him that day or night and they loved when they heard Zack beating on his drum in his room and laughing because they knew that meant he felt better.

The nurses at York Central Hospital came up with the idea to create a room in Zack’s honor. Zack’s parents, Heather and and Paul, decided to bring their idea to life and worked, with the nurses’ support, to create “Zack’s Dream Room” at York Central Hospital. For three years Heather and Paul had spent a great deal of time at York Central and were affected by the staff who cared so much for their son, but they could also see how the hospital had suffered from lack of funding over the years – especially the hospital’s six-bed Paediatric Unit, which was located in patient rooms that were bulit in 1973 and no longer met the current standards of hospital room best practices.

Through various fundraising events, “Zack’s Dream Room” surpassed Heather and Paul’s expectations of raising $25,000 and the fund now stands at $45,760.55 with a new goal of $50,000 almost reached. With the help of Zack’s brothers, Ty and Jayden, Zack’s Dream Room will feature a wall with the favorite animals of the Hamilton family an elephant, lion, hippo, cheetah and Zack’s personal favorite, the giraffe. The five animals will represent the five Hamilton family members and allows them all to be together again on the walls at York Central. Funds from Zack’s Dream Room events will also be used to provide the children and parents who visit the paediatric unit, with the comforts of home; magazines, toys, toiletries, as well as arts and craft supplies.

The money will also be used to replace flooring, upgrade the bathrooms, equipping four of the rooms with cribs to accommodate the tiniest of patients, replacing and installing new window treatments. Each room will have upgraded medical technology: Standardized patient pumps to deliver life-saving medicine and fluids, vital signs monitors to facilitate around-the-clock monitoring of patient conditions. Every room will offer comfortable sleeping accommodations for family members with a secure storage area and in-room space to help parents manage home and work life during their child’s hospital stay.

The Hamilton family were truly honored and overwhelmed with the generosity of the thousands of people who have helped make Zack’s Dream Room a reality. “Zack taught us to never give up… He continues to inspire us.”

Read more:

Telling My Story | Blog

Introducing Zack’s Dream Room

A Tribute to Zack | Youtube

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