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‘Vehicle parade’ held for 11-year-old Nova Scotia boy battling terminal cancer

Click to play video: 'Lower Sackville community rallied in face of pandemic to make young boy’s dream come true' Lower Sackville community rallied in face of pandemic to make young boy’s dream come true
A Nova Scotia community organized a 'vehicle parade' for a boy in their neighbourhood who is battling terminal cancer. – May 4, 2020

Courage and a smile: that’s what comes to mind when Nettie Connolly thinks of her grandson, Zac.

The youngster from Lower Sackville got the surprise of his lifetime when a parade of vehicles from tractor trailers, to police cruisers drove past his home.

All of them were filled with passengers, eagerly waving at the 11-year-old who is battling terminal cancer.

“I was overwhelmed with the love. I’ve never seen so much support for one child. It was overwhelming,” Nettie Connolly said.

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Zac Connolly was just two-years-old when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer, a rare form of the disease that affects children.

Connolly was able to fight off the disease and go on to live eight years of his life cancer-free.

But last fall, he and his family were told the cancer had returned.

He began rounds of chemotherapy, but was told by his team of health -are providers that the cancer had spread to the point where the treatment was no longer effective.

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Hearing this, he and his family made a ‘wish list’, or bucket list of things Zac would like to have happen.

Topping the list was a request to see friends and family again.

That’s when Paige Mackey sparked an idea with her son, one of Zac’s friends, to make it happen.

“Unfortunately with COVID-19 coming along, there’s not much we could do. So, my son and I decided, why not have a little parade that we can all drive by the house with signs and posters and show him our love and support,” Mackey said.

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Zac Connolly was in remission from a rare form of childhood cancer for eight years before it returned, last fall. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

Mackey put the call out to the Lower Sackville community through social media and was overwhelmed by the response she received.

Not only did an endless stream of residents show up in their vehicles – there was also an outpouring of participation from first responders.

The ‘vehicle parade’ made their way down Zac’s street, showing their support the best way they knew how – in the face of a pandemic.

READ MORE: Navigating a new cancer diagnosis during a pandemic: ‘Everything is upended’

“We just want him to know that we’re all here, all here for him,” Mackey said.

Connolly says the smile on her grandson’s face during the parade, is one that never fades away. No matter how many health battles he continues to endure.

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“He is the bravest boy I’ve ever met and you will never see a picture of him where he doesn’t have a smile on his face. Doesn’t matter how much pain he’s in, or what he’s going through, if you ask him – he’ll smile at you,” she said.

 

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