Sawaya Value Award January HOPE Winner John Carlson

John Carlson created Zac’s Legacy, a foundation that helps families financially when they have a sick child. John started Zac’s Legacy in 2001 shortly after he lost his own son, Zackery, to cancer. Zac contracted cancer when he was only two. John and his wife, Sara, found themselves spending a lot of time in the hospital. The doctors and staff assured them the best thing they could do was be there for their child. However, this led to financial problems. Spending more and more time hoping, praying, and playing by his bedside caused them to work fewer hours to pay their bills. After a long battle Zac passed.

John and Sara discovered there was a tremendous need for financial assistance for the other families experiencing childhood cancer. John decided he needed to do something to assure that each and every child diagnosed with cancer received all the love and support they could. The most important thing in John’s mind was the recovery of the child, so he sat down and compiled everything the doctors had told him and came up with Zac’s Legacy.

Zac’s Legacy has helped over 150 families numerous times, assisted with over $650,000 in mortgage/rent payments, utilities, travel expenses, food, and most importantly helped parents spend precious time with their children. John hosts a number of benefits every month in a relentless effort to help these families. However, John keeps a positive and hopeful attitude and says that it is all worth it to see the families he has helped.