This is an article from The Express-Times by Gregg Bortz, Zachi’s mother was a guest blogger on Positive Adoption.
Allentown middle school student, ‘Hero Up’ comic author dies
During his five-year struggle with cancer, 12-year-old Zachi Telesha knew what he wanted to leave behind when he was no longer on this earth – the idea that anyone could be a hero.
On Monday morning, the Trexler Middle School sixth-grader died in his Allentown home. And Zachi’s wishes have “become something of a movement,” according to his adoptive mother, Susan Telesha.
Zachi Telesha was 7 years old when the bone cancer osteosarcoma was discovered in his left femur and spread to his lungs. Since then, he endured multiple surgeries and invasive chemotherapy regimens, and the cancer relapsed several times and spread again earlier this year.
Zachi suffered badly the past few days, Susan Telesha said. On Monday morning, his parents found him laboring and he died shortly afterward.
As his illness continued, Zachi’s imagination was never hindered, and during those same years he was inventing his own superheroes, members of a crime-fighting team called Hero Inc.
Zachi always had dreams of publishing his own comic book. And, last year, that dream came true.
Thirty hardcover copies were printed for Zachi and his family, and another 1,000 softcover copies were made available for sale at $10 each. All proceeds go to the Lehigh Valley-based nonprofit Angel 34, which supports children with pediatric cancer, and the book can be purchased at its website.
Zachi filmed an interview for the organization, and it was posted on YouTube just a few weeks ago. It followed the theme of his comic book and urged that regular people can do a little every day to make the world a better place. Susan Telesha said that interview is a fitting testament to her son’s life.
And his dedication might be memorialized citywide, as Mayor Ed Pawlowski – who lives a few doors away from the Teleshas on North 11th Street – wants to create a “Hero Up!” day of service and recognition of volunteerism in the city.
“He was just an amazing kid,” Pawlowski said. “It would be a fitting tribute to Zachi.”
Susan Telesha said her son’s story was especially inspiring considering he was a child who “came from nothing.”
Susan Telesha and her husband Marc adopted Zachi in 2011.
“He was a mess when he came to us,” Susan Telesha said.
Richard Kern, principal at McKinley Elementary School, called Zachi “the most resilient student I’ve ever known in my 18 years with the district.”
“I’m a true believer there are angels that walk among us to make our lives better and Zachi was one of them,” Kern said.
Kern called Zachi an ideal student.
“He wanted to be here, he wanted to learn, he wanted to be a scientist – he was going to find a cure for cancer,” Kern said. “He was an inspiration to me, he was an inspiration to the teachers in this building.”
Kern said he marveled at the amount of pain and suffering Zachi was able to endure and still maintain a positive outlook on life.
“He basically taught me the meaning of appreciation,” Kern said, “because you really don’t know if you will be gone tomorrow.”
Zachi Telesha recorded the videos below a few weeks ago to tell his story.