By executive action, May 1st officially declared Zaching Day in Howard County.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman officially declared May 1st “Zaching Day,” a day to honor the work of the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation. Founder Zachary Lederer died from brain cancer in 2014 and the Zaching Foundation was established to support and motivate patients battling cancer.

“By declaring May 1 ‘Zaching Day in Howard County’, we will be honoring Zach’s courage and determination, and bringing awareness to the work of the Foundation created from his vision,” Kittleman said in a statement. “The way Zach lived his life was an inspiration, and I know he continues to be a source of strength and hope for families fighting through that same fight right now.”

Zach’s parents John and Christine run the foundation, and keep Zack’s spirit alive through the work done by the foundation. Christine, the Executive Director, released the following statement:

“Zaching Day is a day to recognize what this symbol of strength, courage, determination and hope really means; it’s a symbol Zachary would like all those battling cancer to feel within themselves because those are the feelings he tried to instill in others. Everyone at the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation is grateful to County Executive Kittleman for making this day happen, I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate Zachary’s birthday. I know he is looking down on all of us proudly.”

May 1st, 2017 would have been Zach’s 24th birthday.

The idea of “Zaching” was born out of a courageous pose Zach made hours after a brain surgery he was forced to endure during his second bout with cancer. In the years since, the picture Zach’s father snapped of Zach making the strongman pose has become a symbol for thousands families battling cancer throughout Maryland.

“The reason he made that pose was so that he could assure his friends and family that he was going to be OK. That was the motivation,” said Christine. No one thought then that the image would become such a powerful symbol of hope and courage.

“It wasn’t to start media frenzy. It turned out to be a wonderful symbol and a way to encourage people to get through this horrible fight that everyone has been touched by,” Christine said.

The Zaching Against Cancer Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and offers a wide range of programs and support for cancer patients, caregivers, and family members affected by the disease. The foundation also raises money to fund cancer research and scholarships.

The foundation will launch a social media campaign on May 1 in which supporters will be prompted to send in photos, videos and using the hashtag #ZachingDay. Christine Lederer added supporters can also make $24 donations to the foundation in memory of Zach’s 24th birthday.

Lederer’s legacy is something “we can all learn from,” confirmed Kittleman. “Zach Lederer was an inspiration to us all…He lived with courage and good humor and he never gave up.

To donate or purchase a limited-edition Zaching Day T-shirt, click here.

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