July 18, 2012- Zach Hamm is not your typical 12-year-old boy. On the surface, Zach is a bright, energetic, fun-loving kid who, if you ask his parents and friends, is unlike any other.
“You don’t have to be around Zach very long to know he’s a winner,” said Craig Biggio, former Houston Astros player and head coach of the St. Thomas State Championship baseball team. Biggio and Zach met in 2010 after a game, where Zach was then dubbed as bench coach and has helped inspire the Eagles.
What you don’t know is Zach is one of 246 children in Texas, one in 10,000 births, diagnosed with Ectodermal Dysplasias (ED). A rare genetic disorder, ED can have multiple effects such as hair, teeth, nails and glands developing abnormally. Zach has skeletal abnormalities which include only having one toe on his right foot and two toes on his left. Also, his sweat glands are not fully functional and he is unable to control his body temperature, particularly in the heat.
Like many other children who suffer from the disorder, Zach was born with it. But, it wasn’t until he was 3 years old that his mother and father discovered what he had. After several doctor’s visits and many sleepless nights, it was Zach’s mother, Susan, who through a Google search of his symptoms came across the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED). After further research and a conversation with the NFED director, the Hamm family finally had some answers.
“That was a seminal moment in all our lives,” said Paul Hamm, Zach’s father. “Up to that point, we had no idea what was wrong exactly and didn’t know how this would affect our son.”