WEST MONROE, LA. (October 2017): Wish Kid Zack felt a special (duck) calling to meet the crew of Duck Dynasty. He related to the Robertson family on many levels including hobbies, backgrounds, helping others and faith. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life threatening illnesses, reached out to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty, who made Zack’s wish as pitch-perfect as their duck calls.
Zack has Chiari malformations, which are structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. He was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Type 3, a rare genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by hyperextensible skin, lax joints and connective tissue fragility. Although Zack had decompression surgery, he still suffers with chronic pain. He was also born with cataracts, and is now blind in his left eye.
Kids Wish Network flew Zack and his family to Louisiana for his once-in-a-lifetime wish. When they arrived at Duck Commander, the family was shown southern hospitality at its finest. They were given a tour of the offices, and Zack was invited to sit at Willie’s desk. Then it was showtime, with Zack being warmly welcomed by the Duck Dynasty crew meeting Jase, Missy, Willie, Phil, Uncle Si, Alan, Lisa, and cast members John Godwin, Justin Martin and Johnny D. “I was surprised when I walked into the room and all of the Robertsons were there,” said Wish Kid Zack. It was just like a scene from their show. They all spent time together, and Uncle Si was telling engaging stories and drinking his iced tea. Everyone made Zack’s family feel right at home. “It felt like we were with our own family on Thanksgiving,” said his mom Heather.
It was a day of giving… Zack gave Jase and Willie Kids Wish Network bandanas, and he received many treasured presents in return, including Willie’s signature American flag bandana that he autographed for Zack, a flashlight, duck call and baseball cap. Two additional gifts held very special meaning to Zack who is strong in his faith. The Robertsons graciously gave him The Duck Commander Faith And Family Bible autographed by their family, and prayed with Zack wishing him healing and good health. He said, “My favorite memory was when Mr. Phil and the family prayed for me.”
After spending time with the Robertsons, Zack’s family enjoyed a tour of Duck Commander. “I really liked when our tour guide Mr. Randy taught my family how to make a duck call,” said Zack. He was also kindly gifted another duck call of his choice when visiting the store.
The Robertsons’ generosity continued, inviting Zack and his family to lunch at Willie’s Duck Diner. The restaurant was absolutely ducky, serving down home southern comfort food and grace. Zack experienced private dining and sat in Willie’s own comfy camouflage chair. During the wish, the family also enjoyed hotel accommodations at the Crowne Plaza Executive Center Baton Rouge, dinner at Madeline French Bakery & Café and lunch at City Pork Brasserie & Bar.
“When a Wish Kid is greatly inspired by something, it’s so amazing when it becomes their reality,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “We’re so grateful to the Robertson family for making Zack’s wish so special and providing him with acceptance, support and memories that will stay with him always.”
Helping others also has a rippling effect. “Zack’s future goal is to be able to grant a child’s wish when he’s older,” said his dad Jeremy. “After meeting the Robertsons, I most admire their genuine kindness, love for children and most importantly their love for God. Everyone we came in contact with went above and beyond to make Zack feel special, and we are so thankful.”
Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn more and find out how you can help makes dreams come true and sponsor a wish for a deserving child.