Oracle Ridge staff gives to Zachary’s swimming pool

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Helping hands present a donation to the Foster family of Oracle. Pictured from left are Brenda Garcia, Elina Salazar, Theresa Rodriguez, Mark Foster, Zachary Bryant (holding check), Julie Bryant-Foster, Katrina Cassarino, Emma Foster and Toni Sanchez. (John Hernandez photo)

By John Hernandez

Copper Area News

Zachary Bryant turns six years old this month.

He has had a tough life so far. His biological father died when he was one year old, a tough enough beginning.

But in January 2013, Zachary was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This disease results in muscular degeneration and eventual death. Doctors have told the family there is no known cure and labeled the disease “terminal.”

Statistically children diagnosed with this disease will be in a wheelchair between the ages of 8 and 14. They will most likely die in their late teens or early 20s from heart or lung failure during the late stages of the disease.

For now Zachary looks and acts like any normal six-year-old but his muscles are slowly deteriorating.

Doctors have told Zach’s family that swimming is the best exercise to strengthen his muscles and to help slow down the deterioration. Unfortunately Zach’s parents cannot afford a pool. But thanks to some caring friends and relatives, a fund has been set up to help Zachary get his therapy pool.

Zach has also started a “bucket list” for things he would like to do before he is unable to walk. This includes a trip to Disneyland and New York to see the Statue of Liberty. Part of the funds will go to help Zachary live these dreams.

A goal of raising $20,000 was set by the family. In three months, they have raised over $6,000.

On Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Oracle Ridge School, Zachary and his family were presented with a check for $727. The money was raised at the Mountain Vista Fall Festival. A group of Oracle Ridge staff members including Brenda Garcia, Elina Salazar, Theresa Rodriguez, Katrina Cassarino and Toni Sanchez helped raise the money through the Cake Walk activity at the fair.

Zachary’s parents are Mark Foster and Julie Bryant-Foster. Zach’s sister Emma was also at the presentation. Mark and Julie are both deputies with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and live and work in the Tri-Community. As deputies they serve and help protect the community.

“We appreciate the community’s support,” Julie said. “It has been tremendous and we cannot thank them enough. We serve the community and it is nice to have the community give back to us and help us in our time of need.”

If you would like to donate or have questions about how you can help Zach, visit www.GoFundMe.com/4545iw.

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