Superheroes descended on Sherwood Park Monday night to lend their healing powers to a 10-year-old boy coping with a rare form of brain cancer.
About 500 people joined a fundraiser for Zachary Murri, who has been diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an aggressive tumour on the stem of the brain.
Friends, family and family dogs showed up at the benefit walk, wearing colours to match Zach’s favourite superhero, Captain America. One of his supporters even came dressed as Batman.
Zach’s former babysitter, Celine Wylie, organized the fundraiser and stood up in front of the crowd.
“I’d like to say that we’ve raised $7,500 tonight,” Wylie said to cheers.
The money is to help the family through the tough time, she said.
Zach was diagnosed in May and given only weeks to live.
The neurosurgeon told the family why Zach had been vomiting and getting headaches.
“He told us, ‘Your son’s not going to grow up,’ ” said Zach’s father, Daniel Murri.
“To hear that as a father … it’s devastating.”
Zach was immediately put through a six-week intensive radiation treatment. He made some progress, then more symptoms developed.
Zach lost hearing in one of his ears, developed double vision and now has difficulty walking.
Sick Kids Canada says about 30 children in Canada are diagnosed with the brain tumour every year.
“It’s like winning the lottery … but a really crappy one,” his father said.
Ninety-five per cent of children diagnosed with DIPG don’t live more than two years.
Wylie began organizing the fundraiser after hearing about Zach’s diagnosis. She enlisted the help of her employer, the CBI Health Centre, and a number of local sponsors.
“We just want to take the financial strain off the family,” Wylie said.