Zachary | Blank Children's Kid Captain

UnityPoint Clinic - Express

180 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 120
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

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2720 8th St. SW
Altoona, Iowa 50009

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2103 Ingersoll Ave., Ste. 2
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

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3625 N. Ankeny Blvd.
Suite E
Ankeny, Iowa 50023

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6000 University Avenue
Suite 101
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

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4020 Merle Hay Road
Suite 100
Des Moines, Iowa 50310

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6520 SE 14th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50320

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2901 86th Street
Urbandale, Iowa 50322

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Prior to Zachary Cartwright being diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), he played many sports including football, baseball and basketball. He was active with Boy Scouts, attending monthly camps, as well as an active member in church. When he was diagnosed, Zachary was strong in taking in all of the information. His life changed 180 degrees, but that did not stop him.  

“Zach did not give up, and he is still active in as much as he can,” said Zach’s mom, Candace Cartwright. “He keeps in contact with his friends, and is a true inspiration to me and my husband, Pete. His sister, Haley, was having some problems at school, and Zach is always there to help at any moment. He puts others first and has the biggest heart.” 

Zach’s journey began in November 2015 when he didn’t feel well and went to the doctor a few times with symptoms similar to a cold. On January 2, Zach was taken to Blank Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with ALL.  The first 6 months were extremely difficult, but Zach was a trooper and was able to maintain his sense of humor and fun-loving personality.  

“Zach’s strength has amazed me through his battle with cancer.  He has always been so strong,” said Zach’s friend, James. “I have admired him even before he had cancer, and twice as much now!  I will always look up to him, and hope to be lifelong friends!” 

Another friend, Scott said, “Zach has impacted me by always being there for me even when he was going through tough things. He has been an amazing friend to me for many years and has shown me what it really means to be strong.”

Zach’s current care schedule includes going to the clinic each Friday for treatment or checking his counts. Zach had a few hospital stays last year, but is hopeful those days are behind him and is looking forward to being in maintenance treatment. 

“All the things that we worried about before are no longer a such a big deal,” Candace said. “Having to have the house clean all the time, saying yes to too many things and pushing the kids to sign up for multiple sports is just not a big deal anymore. Just ensuring our kids are healthy, are doing ‘something’ active that they enjoy and are spending time with their friends is enough for us. Life is precious and you must enjoy every moment.”