Bringing a little magic into a child's life

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:59

Sparta - Determination is an admirable quality in anyone, but it is particularly commendable when it comes from a philanthropic 11-year-old boy. Sparta’s Zac Petrucci has been working head strong on a project since May to raise enough money for Make-a-Wish Foundation to send a Sussex County child with a life threatening disease and their family to Disney World. The idea began while watching a home video with his family of their own trip to Disney World. The family talked about their opportunity to make the trip and about the many children who are not able to do the same. That’s when Zac’s idea began to form. “Disney is my favorite place in whole world and I want another child to experience it, like I did the first time I went there,” said Zac. With guidance from his parents, Maryann and John, Zac’s idea started to become a reality. It was Zac who first contacted his Boy Scout leaders at troop 95, Al Lennox and Al Aries, who agreed to support his idea. To launch his idea, Zac, with the help of Sparta firefighter John Demochowski, organized a beefsteak dinner to be held at the Sparta firehouse and rallied his Scout troop to start selling tickets. But he wasn’t sure this would raise enough money to send a child and family to Disney, so he wrote a letter to the Sparta Board of Education requesting permission to distribute flyers in the schools advertising the event and requesting donations. Once his request was granted, he designed the flyers and distributed them throughout the school system. He was also permitted to place a bucket in the Sparta Middle School’s cafeteria to collect money. Once the schools were covered, Zac took to the streets and took a place in front of the Stop & Shop with friends Patrick and Thomas Crowley, Matt Cannon and Drew Harner for several days soliciting donations for his cause. Zac’s desire to make a sick child’s wish come true was gaining strength. His next maneuver was to give presentations to groups such as the Kiwanis Club, Blue Knights and a group of over 100 Weichert employees. George and Phil Sensale, owners of North Jersey Cycle helped Zac raised more than $200 at the Sussex County fairgrounds. Soon, Zac’s cause became infectious. “Zac’s friends have been such a support to him,” said Maryann. “Friend, Brad Drew sold tickets for him throughout his neighborhood to help the cause and Zac’s 7-year-old sister, Kristen, gave a presentation to a room of Girl Scout leaders, requesting donations.” Zac is learning life skills through his endeavor. He even negotiated with Tatel Printing to have the beefsteak tickets printed at no charge. “Zac has learned so much from this. It has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun. I know it will lead to other things. Zac talks of fundraising again for a different cause, maybe a Toys for Tots drive at Christmas time,” said Maryann. When all is set and done, Zac will not know the name of the Sussex County child whose wish to visit the Magic Kingdom will come true, but hopes to receive a picture of the child with Mickey Mouse. “The whole adventure has made us so proud of Zac,” said Maryann. “It’s such a perfect cause for him because Zac is Disney-obsessed. Sending a sick child to Disney is like a wish coming true for Zac.”