Hospital Spotlight: The Schmoll Family, Silencing the Skeptics
When Zak Schmoll was initially diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), his parents were told he wouldn’t live to celebrate his second birthday. Fifteen years, countless surgeries and a high school graduation later, Zak will head to the University of Vermont on full scholarship this Fall.
Zak was second in his class at Spaulding High School and was one of the commencement speakers at his graduation ceremony, in Barre, Vt. His topic? Success.
Zak and his dad, Mark, mom, Joan, and sister, Darcy, have been regular guests at the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins for 15 years. With Zak’s 18th birthday approaching, he will also be graduating from Believe In Tomorrow’s programs (the foundation only serves families caring for critically ill children 17 years and younger). Zak’s dad shared some thoughts about what Believe In Tomorrow and the opportunity for the family to stay at the Children’s House has meant to the family:
“It has been such a blessing to stay at this house. Zak loves the setting, and my daughter, Darcy, always wants to stay longer. She was able to form friendships with other guests at the house and enjoy lots of activities, while Zak was in the hospital, recovering from surgeries. It’s the simple things that make it so special. We have a high top van, so being able to park in an open lot makes a huge difference. It’s so critical to maintain some semblance of normalcy in your family life, while your child is in the hospital – and the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins made that entirely possible for us. It’s been our home away from home.”
Zak celebrates his 18th birthday July 31.