COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)– A freshman at the University of Maryland is inspiring people across the country.

Jessica Kartalija reports it all started with a picture taken at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Zach Lederer, 18, is an assistant manager for the men’s basketball team. Aside from a scar running down the right side of his head, you’d never know the Centennial High School grad is fighting for his life.

At the news conference before Wednesday night’s game against Boston College, the focus was on Lederer and the photo taken right after he had brain surgery.

“I said, ‘Dad, take a picture of me.’ And I did the pose. And my mom said, ‘John, don’t take that picture.’ And I said, ‘Dad, take that picture now,'” Lederer said.

That picture has gone viral.

With athletes and celebrities getting in on the action by “Zaching” — showing their support in his fight against cancer.

“The coolest ones in my mind are the ones of the kids in the hospital,” Lederer said.

“He’s a strong kid. He’s been through it before. He’s been real positive. Positive every day in practice, brings it every day in practice for us. He’s been a great inspiration,” Mark Turgeon, the University of Maryland Terrapins’ head coach, said of Lederer.

He’s an inspiration not only on the hardwood but across the country. Thousands are now following Lederer’s positive messages on Twitter and showing their support by posting their best “Zaching” photos.

“I feel great. Physically, I feel 100 percent. Emotionally, I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. I keep telling people this really puts everything in perspective,” Lederer said.

Lederer’s most recent surgery was Jan. 25 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He tells WJZ he will now undergo six months of chemotherapy and possibly radiation.

Turgeon and Lederer say they would love to see Tim Tebow in a “Zaching” pose.

Comments (4)
  1. beth says:

    I saw this story on JZ last evening. Zach you are an inspiration and I pray that you beat this. God bless you and your family

  2. Matt says:

    Good Luck man. You can beat this.

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