Comic creator Zachi Telesha passed away Monday, April 29th, at the age of 12. When he was 7 years old, Zachi was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer that spreads to other body parts. Cancer could not stop the brave 5th grader from reaching his dream of publishing his own comic book. The young writer left a legacy of helping other children who suffer from cancer.
In his battle with the villainous cancer, Zachi went through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. Shortly after receiving his diagnosis, Zachi suffered the tragic loss of his mother, due to his father’s domestic violence. After a period in foster care, he was adopted in 2011. He knew time was limited and he made the most of it.
Zachi was a true fanboy who loved comics. With the help of teachers at his school, McKinley Elementary in Allentown, PA, and publisher Rodale Inc., Zachi published the 32 page comic titled “Hero Up!”. It features a courageous squad of five heroes led by Venom Transporter, a character based on Zachi himself. His teammates are based on his science teacher, one of his good friends and a girl whom he wanted to remain “unmentioned”.
Over 1,000 softcover copies of his graphic novel were printed with a cover price of $10. All proceeds from his comic go to the Lehigh Valley-based nonprofit, Angel 34, a charity supporting children with pediatric cancer. His comic can be purchased at the charity’s website. Additionally, thirty hardcover editions were printed for Zachi and his family. There are rumors Zachi was busy working on a sequel that may be released soon.
Zachi lived by superhero morals and values. He urged regular people to get involved in helping others and stated that every little bit helps. A lover of video games, Zachi helped his hospital aquire an Xbox 360 so that other children there could enjoy it. He also served as the hospital’s junk food inspector performing “candy inspection, (and) slushy inspection to make sure they pass.”
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski wants to plan a “Hero Up!” day of service and volunteerism in memory of Zachi. A hallway in his school is named after him to celebrate his life and his classmate proudly wear “Z” shirts in his memory.
“He basically taught me the meaning of appreciation… because you really don’t know if you will be gone tomorrow.”- Richard Kern, principal at McKinley Elementary School
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Jay Deitcher, LMSW(
@mrdeitcher) embraces the term MUTANT and proudly represents his MUTANT brothers and sisters. He is an educator on comic history and runs successful Free Comic Book Day events yearly. You can see a listing of his incredible articles and his highly energetic videos at JayDeitcher.com.