- Zachary Gagnon, 13, earned his Angel wings on October 22, 2016, at 5:05 PM, following a long 3 year battle with Ewing's sarcoma.
Zachary's final days were spent with family and friends, in the comfort of his home, to preserve his dignity and be assured he felt most at ease. It is uplifting that generous medical staff from Cary Medical Center, volunteered their time to sit with Zach, alternating shifts, to be with Zachary and his mom through the evening, so they were not alone.
Zachary's life will always be remembered but was cut too short, due to childhood cancer. Zachary always had an infectious smile which brightened even the darkest days and despite having experienced trauma in his short life, Zachary continued to possess kindness, and unconditional love for others. Zachary was a true example of a human spirit which was never robbed from him despite being faced with evil, which proves that love conquers all. He spoke kindly of everyone he met and has always wanted everyone to know the importance of being kind to one another.
Zachary's Angelic smile could melt your heart and resonated strength, courage, and peace, despite the utter turmoil he endured during his battle with cancer. Prior to his last breath, Zachary was insistent that he would survive, and with much tenacity and fortitude, he pointed to all of us and said, "I will live, do you hear me! I will live!" Zachary was a fighter, and he fought to the end, his heart beating strongly. Zachary is the lucky one, to be provided the awesome opportunity to be with God, Angels, and Saints, who will surround him with pure joy.
Zachary enjoyed the outdoors, spending time with his mom and dog, Ginger. Zachary enjoyed kayaking with his mom, Nordic skiing, spending time by the ocean, fishing, and riding all terrain vehicles. His love for the outdoors and aspirations to become a Maine State Game Warden, were granted by area Game Wardens, who presented him with a certificate and ceremony to become an honorary Junior Game Warden, and he was sworn in.
Zachary joined the Nordic ski team only 6 months following the end of an entire year of chemo treatments that ravaged his body. His shear will to survive and his love of life drove him to continue fighting with perseverance and courage. For those who had the privilege to know Zachary, I am certain they will be left with an everlasting ache in their hearts, as he reminded us of how we should live life, with strength, hope, and faith, despite the most incredible obstacles. Although Zachary's life seemed too short, he lived life to the fullest, and understood the importance of making each day meaningful, which some never achieve despite reaching adulthood. Despite enduring the torture of childhood cancer, Zachary never ceased to amaze his mother by his example of showing compassion and love for those in need and his desire to help others, particularly the homeless, and less privileged in our country.
Hours before Zachary's passing, he spent time watching childhood videos with his mom, which caused him to smile, a smile which had not been seen in weeks, due to the pain and suffering he experienced. At one point, Zachary said, "OK, I'm done now," asking to stop the videos and said, "I'm gonna cry."
Zachary is survived by his mother, Peggy Gagnon, of Caribou; Uncle Glen Gagnon and wife, Angie Gagnon and their two children, Megan and Shawn, of Claire, New Brunswick; maternal grandparents, Leo James and Nicole Gagnon of Frenchville; Aunt Kim Gagnon and her two grown children, Julie Cook and Danny Cook of Connecticut; great-grandparents, Therese and Yvon Cloutier of Edmundston, New Brunswick; Aunt Karen Gagnon and her family of Syracuse, New York; Aunt Lisa and Uncle Paul Bernier of Frenchville ME; and countless other aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The family would like to express their sincerest gratitude for the ongoing support from family, friends, and especially pure strangers, who recognized the need for providing comfort throughout the years of suffering and realized how witnessing a child withstand childhood cancer and treatments, must be torment for those close to him. And, we must not forget, Zachary's support dog, Ginger, who is already missing him terribly.
Friends may call at the Mockler Funeral Home, 24 Reservoir Street, Caribou, 6-8pm Wednesday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 1:00pm Thursday, October 27, 2016, from the Parish of the Precious Blood, Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Following the service, all are invited to a time of continued fellowship and refreshments at the Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the family, Peggy Gagnon, 44 Solar Drive, Caribou, ME 04736. In addition, you may make a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation, 477 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101.
Zachary was offered the opportunity to travel to Discovery Cove, Orlando, FL., to swim with the dolphins, in July 2016, courtesy of the Make a Wish Foundation. This experience will be forever etched in his mother's heart and provide lasting memories of the tremendous freedom and joy it provided for Zach despite the most terrible experience a child could live through, battling cancer.
Zachary's mother has pursued raising awareness and advocacy for childhood cancer and the reality that only 4% of Federal funding from the National Cancer Institute, is allocated for childhood cancer and treatments. Peggy urges the community to become involved in writing to members of Congress asking them to support childhood cancer research and more efficacious individualized treatments. .