Rugby Families Help Each Other Out

paluch It was not that long ago that I lost my sister to her battle with breast cancer. My closest rugby friend have moved far and wide, but when I was in need they were there for me. One flew in from California, others came to the hospital or checked in every day that my sister was in the hospital to see fi there was anything I needed. When I was in college, and my sister was having one of her surgeries, friend lent me their cars to drive home and be there with her.  So when I see someone in need I know that I have to help. When my sister passed, the next day the Paluch's were at our house seeing, what if anything they could do for us. When my sister was first diagnosed with cancer and we had a benefit for her, the Plauchs where there to donate and help in anyway. So in a heartbeat I would help them, particularly when it's part of my rugby family and someone who was there for me during one of the hardest time in my life.

A family that moved in down the block, when I was about 4 years old, became a part of my extended family long before rugby was part of it. Christopher was two years younger than me, his brother Sean a few younger than him. Then, shortly after they moved in, his mom had a little girl Bitsy, then along came Zachary about a year later. Christopher being close to my age quickly because like a brother to me, but Zachary was one of the first babies I ever got to hold and made his special in a different way.  The Paluch children were always great to hang out with. They never got in trouble, so I didn't get in trouble. We'd walk home from school together, go to each other birthday parties, and they always had the best make-up for Halloween.

paluchsAll the Paluch boys played football, and when I went on to college I started to play rugby. I was so excited when I found out Christopher was playing rugby when he went to college too. He was not just a brother for being a life long friend, but now part of the rugby fraternity. When he moved back to Chicago and recently started playing rugby again, I was more than happy to share fitness routines, and give him a spare rugby ball that I had. So now I am ready to help this family once again that has always been there for me.

On September 16th, the Paluch family was notified by the Chicago Police Department that Zachary was involved in a severe accident on his college campus. He was reported by BNSF railways in Galesburg, IL with no identification, shirt or shoes. The only way to identify Zach was by his fraternity tattoo. Zachary had recently graduated from Knox college and was staying down there to do some post-graduate classes to build his portfolio.  Zachary was found unconscious and unresponsive. He suffered a broken nose, a fractured orbital on the right of his face as well as a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He is currently in a coma and has undergone a Craniotomy to relieve brain swelling. The cause is currently under investigation,  it is not sure who did this or why. His parents are now staying in Peoria, where Zach had to be brought to for their neuro unit.  Zachary has undergone multiple operations in order to keep him stable. While he has slowly progressed, doctors are unsure whether he will continue to improve and break out of his coma.

He is a talented young artist, has gifted his college with a sculpture, and would do anything to help someone out in need. He has plan to attend graduate school for painting. Though he has progressed some, he is still in a coma. He has wiggled his fingers some, is making facial expressions, and these minor things hopefully mean there is a road to recovery. If you can help, there is a Give Forward page to help his family with the medical costs. If you can just spread the word, that mean a ton too.  I hope that Zachary Paluch has a strong recovery. I also wish that people who not do senseless things. No one deserves to be assaulted within inches of their life. No family deserves the 3am phone call that a child is in the hospital in a coma. People need to start treating each other right, and know that if it's your immediate family, neighborhood family, or rugby family, we are suppose to all be on greater humankind family.

Zachary currently in a coma

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    Stephanie Esposito

    Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Got hooked on rugby in 2003, played college, CARFU and with Chicago North Shore Women's Club. Love the rugby community, traveling around and being able to find rugby friends where ever I roam.

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