Shropshire Star comment: Zac’s story is one of the triumph of hope

It is wonderful news that Zac Oliver is on the home straight in his battle to defeat cancer.

Zac Oliver, from Broseley near Telford
Zac Oliver, from Broseley near Telford

The brave five-year-old captured the heart of a nation as his plight became headline news. His family had to raise more than £500,000 to pay for treatment in the USA for his rare condition. Against all the odds, they did so. They are remarkable people.

Zac’s story is one of the triumph of hope. His parents refused to accept defeat. They refused to acknowledge the grim outcome that they and their beloved son would face had they not embarked upon their remarkable quest to fly him to the USA for treatment.

They were successful in their fund-raising campaign and Zac can now look forward to a long, happy and healthy life thanks to the determination, selfless love and unconditional support of his parents.

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It is not just Zac’s parents whose conduct has been noteworthy. There are many others who have also played a part, including hundreds and hundreds of fundraisers and volunteers who have given their time and energy, as well as their money, to the cause. They have rattled tins, attracted online sponsorship and made sure Zac’s goal was met.

The doctors and nurses who have cared for Zac also deserve praise and thanks. They have done no more than is expected of them, of course. But their tender and devoted work made a huge difference to the life of a youngster from Telford who now has everything to look forward to.

Why, though, was it necessary for Zac’s parents to take matters into their own hands? We have a publicly-funded National Health Service and on this occasion it was not able to provide the life-saving treatment that others could. Nor was it able to broker a deal to cover the costs of Zac’s treatment, the burden of which fell to his parents.

We recognise that the NHS cannot afford to pay for everything. Modern medicine is moving on apace and newer treatments are available with higher price tags than ever before.

But when a youngster’s life is under threat and in need of life-saving treatment, his family, rather than the state, had to step in.

And that, as well as the remarkable courage of Zac and the unstinting love shown by his parents, is the legacy of this story.

We wish Zac and his family well.

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