Student Spotlight: Zachary Berger


Eleanor Kelly

Senior Zachary Berger is to receive an award of a lifetime. The Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN), an internationally recognized non-profit organization, reached out to Zac a few months ago and told him that they wanted to give him their “Courage Award” at this year’s Global Run/Walk to Fight Lymphatic disease on May 15th in Boston. 

“Of course I am honored by the gesture. We are currently fundraising for the event and I am looking forward to attending,” said Zac.

Zac suffers from a rare disease called lymphatic malformation, this means that there are non malignant masses consisting of fluid-filled channels thought to be caused by abnormal developments in the lymphatic system. These areas are most common in the neck, jaw, and tongue, and there is no cure and there are too many unknowns about proper treatment.

“I have endured eight surgeries, all before the age of 11, but none of them cured my lymphatic malformation because there is no cure,” said Zac.

He says that all of the surgeries were to improve his quality of life, to make it easier for him to eat, talk, and even breathe. He will live with this disease forever, so he and his family take medical decisions like these very seriously. 

“Me and my family started Zac’s Attack For a Cure as a way to amplify my voice and Attack the Cure for Lymphatic Malformation ”’ said Zac.

In 2015, at the age of 11, Zac became the Texas Youth Ambassador for the LE&RN and started to raise awareness for research about this disease. In 2018 his family started the organization, Zac’s Attack for a Cure, holding different kinds of events from things like hit-a-thons to restaurant fundraisers, they have sponsored the College Park Baseball team, and even had a couple marathon streams on Twitch to raise money.

“Even though I went through a lot of tough times when I was younger, and still have some tough days, I consider myself pretty lucky. I try to use my adversity to help others. If I can help others with lymphatic malformation and really anyone that is struggling with anything, that is really fulfilling.” said Zac.