Zachary MacKenzieis exactly the kind of person who would likely be killed in an abortion.
You see, Zach wasn’t supposed to survive long after taking his first breath. He’s one of the unborn children who doctors gave little hope to living outside the womb — making him a likely candidate to be aborted since he would be dying anyway.
But, call it a miracle or a medical miracle or whatever term you want to use, he survived. And now he is a high school graduate.
“I was six months pregnant when the doctors found out that he had a very sick heart,” she said. “The doctors told me that there was no hope, that he would die his first breath he took.”
They also told her that should her child be delivered alive, she would be allowed to take him home but with the understanding that he would die within a few days.
Instead, Zachary beat the odds. He turns 19 this month and graduated June 12 from Bonanza High School in a ceremony at the Orleans Arena, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave. His parents snapped shots of him in his cap and gown as he clutched his diploma.
The road to get there was not an easy one. MacKenzie was born with hypo plastic left heart syndrome, where the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped. At five hours old, he underwent his first open heart surgery. The operation lasted eight hours. He emerged a tiny bundle clinging to life, bandaged and connected to tubes and wires.
After the surgery, “The doctors told us that there was no room for complications, but at 23 years old at the time, I did not understand what that meant,” Moran said.
She stayed by his side and prayed. In fact, Moran said she couldn’t have endured such obstacles if not for her faith. She had her family and members of her church, the International Church of Las Vegas, 8100 Westcliff Drive, praying for the newborn.
She credits those prayers with allowing her son to survive that surgery and the two others that followed. The last was when he was about 3. Even with those surgeries, the family was told he would likely not live past age 10.
Moran recalled checking on her son after he’d gone to bed and watching him as he slept. It was a task she would repeat throughout the years.
“I was always afraid I’d walk in there (to his bedroom) and not find him alive,” she said. “I’ve had to live with that fear all my life.”
By the time he was 13 or 14, MacKenzie said being “different” caused him to think a lot about his condition and contemplate why the heart condition had befallen him. He said it led him to have a strong faith in God.
“The way I think about it is this: Everything happens for a reason,” MacKenzie said. “So, if I’m here, then I’m here for a reason. God put me here for a reason. … Thinking about all the things I’ve been through in my life, just thinking about everything, I’m surprised I’m still alive. That in itself is a miracle. There’s no way around it. No way would I be here, be alive, if not for God.”