Teen with cancer makes scarves, spreads joy

CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – A Clovis teen who’s been battling cancer for years started making scarves as a way to keep his hands and mind busy in the hospital. It’s turned into a way for him to make a little pocket money, and put a smile on other sick kids’ faces.

“I had some material and I did it, and to me, it seemed like I wasn’t thinking about anything – what was going on, or if I had to have surgery,” 19-year-old Zack Smith told KRQE News 13.

Zack was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer about four years ago. He’s had several surgeries, stem cell and bone marrow transplants, and chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Two years ago, he started crocheting scarves in the hospital to pass the time.

“One of my nurses saw (a scarf) and she just fell in love with it, so I was like, ‘You can just have it,’ ” Zach recalled.

He says she insisted on paying for the scarf. It’s kind of snowballed from there. He gives away some scarves, but he’s made about $1,000 selling others. Not bad, considering he never meant to make any money with his creations.

This past Christmas, Zack and his mother bought toys and trinkets, and delivered the gifts to other kids in the hospital. He says he does it to spread joy.

Zack turns 20 on Monday. There’s still a lot he wants to do in life, like get a job and see the ocean. But Zack doesn’t know how much time he has left.

“I could have three minutes, I could have three days. I don’t know, but that’s not taking me down,” Zack said.

Two things he’s sure of: He plans to keep making scarves, and keep spreading joy.

Zack’s been treated in Texas and New Mexico, most recently at UNM Hospital. His mother says he’ll be entering hospice care soon.

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