According to his mom and dad, Marcia and John Webber, Zane, 4, of Rices Landing, Pennsylvania, is full of curiosity – always asking questions and figuring out how things work. They also describe him as kind-hearted and say he cares deeply about others.
But Zane’s zest for life, and that of his parents, changed when Zane stopped walking. After a visit to the emergency department and several follow-up visits in January 2022, doctors discovered Zane had B-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, the most common leukemia affecting children. The news was devastating.
Zane began treatment immediately, but soon he developed a secondary condition, a fungal infection that formed in his heart. It required open heart surgery. The treatment zapped Zane’s love for life and his spunky disposition. But, together, the family got through it one day at a time.
“The staff at WVU Medicine Children’s were amazing. They were incredibly supportive and compassionate,” Marcia said. “They always cared for our well-being, treated us like family, and offered a shoulder to lean on.”
The team generously donated toys and other items to help make Zane’s stay in the hospital more comfortable.
Throughout all his challenges, Zane’s tenacity carried him through every battle he faced. The staff at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital quickly fell in love with the curious boy.
“Zane is the most passionate patient we have,” Patrick Tomboc, DO, pediatric oncologist at WVU Medicine Children’s, said. “At any one moment, he is fervently talking about his newest dinosaur toy and then excitedly telling us what he did the day before. He is full of life, full of energy, and he brightens everyone’s day.”
Despite the challenges, the family enjoyed moments of hope. On June 10, Zane’s birthday, the family went home from the hospital. A local baseball team had gifted Zane with a Paw Patrol electronic car. And when Zane saw it, he stood up and walked over to it. It was the first time Zane had walked in a long time. Zane still has his good days and not-so-good days. Sometimes, he can walk without a walker, but other days, he needs it. He’s dealt with so much, more than many other kids, yet he’s still Zane, still spunky, still ornery.
“Kids are stronger than you think,” Marcia said. “They can recover and heal.” And though Zane’s prognosis is very good, the family knows they’re not alone. “There are so many people out there who care, and the staff at WVU Medicine Children’s really excelled at everything they did for Zane,” Marcia said. “We appreciated all they did.”
Zane Webber is the 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® Champion Child for West Virginia.