ALTON — Kathy Disher describes her son Zac as a gentle spirit.
“He was easygoing and didn’t have any enemies,” she said.
It was a tremendous loss for friends and family when the 28-year-old-man lost his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2012. His life and struggle has inspired Disher to help others suffering from the condition.
“After a year I really wanted to get involved and be a patient advocate,” Disher said. “Zac really needed an advocate when he went through his.”
She got involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an organization tasked with curing blood-based cancers and improving the quality of life of patients and their families.
“Zac was involved in clinical trials to help people in the future,” she said.
Zac’s care for others prompted Disher to travel to Washington, D.C., with the society to advocate for the passage of bills to lower the cost of medical treatment. On the home front she spearheaded a grassroots fundraising effort for lymphoma research.
Disher’s fundraising efforts led to her being nominated as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year.
“The first fundraiser we did it on a five-week notice,” she said. “Within a 10-week period, last year we raised $23,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society with the golf tournament and other activities.”
A second golf tournament has been planned for May 2. The fundraising group is hoping to make $10,000, to be divided between the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Roxana High School athletics department.
“We continue to raise funds for things that were near and dear to Zac,” Disher said. “That’s why we added the Roxana high school athletics department, because he was an avid sportsman and player. We know that schools need money, so we thought it would be fitting to split the money up between the high school and the lymphoma society.”
Zac attended Roxana High School, where he enjoyed basketball, golf and baseball. His love for baseball later led to a position as a groundsman with the St. Louis Cardinals. The golf tournament will include a silent auction for sports memorabilia donated by the team.
Disher said future fundraising efforts might focus on other areas dear to Zac, such as animal rescue.
“We want everything to stay in our community,” she said. “We want to keep it local.”
The second annual Zac Disher Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, May 2, at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton.
To sponsor a hole or participate in the tournament, contact Kathy Disher by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (618) 580-3353.