About Bill
The Book
Meet Zach

Meet Zach

Zach Hamm is a 12 year old boy. He loves the Astros, St. Thomas High School Eagles, golf, Boy Scouts, the movies, school, and cheeseburgers. Zach is normal in almost every way, save for one big distinction: He suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Ectodermal Dysplasias (ED), which affects approximately one in 10,000 births. ED is not a single disorder. It is a group of heritable disorders causing the hair, teeth, nails and glands to develop and function abnormally. More than 100 different syndromes have been identified.

Zach has Ectodermal defect with skeletal abnormalities. Zach has two toes on his right foot and one toe on his left foot. Zach has finger and rib anomalies as well. Zach also is missing several adult teeth. Zach has sweat glands but they are not fully functional so he struggles to control his body temperature, particularly in the heat. Zach has had eight major surgeries in his young life with many more to come. Zach is also in the early stages of a long Orthodontia process.

None of these things have slowed him down. Zach has a zest for life that is amazing to watch. He loves to play baseball and loves his team the 12U Mudcats. The Mudcats have won three league championships. Zach also loves to play tournament golf. He has played in over 30 golf tournaments winning 8 times and collecting medals in 18 others. Zach is an excellent student and a decorated Boy Scout.

"It's cool to be me," Zach says. "Sure, I have a rare syndrome and in a way I'm different from other kids. If someone asks what's wrong with me, I just tell them, 'Nothing. This is how God made me.'

"I'm thankful for having a great family that takes care of me, and for having so many other people who understand and support me. Nothing really slows me down, and nothing ever will."


From the Pages of
My Baseball Journey

Chapter 26
Don't Sweat It

Many big league managers employ a bench coach as their right-hand man, someone with whom to talk strategy and lean on in the decision-making process. At St. Thomas High School, former Houston Astros great Craig Biggio-coach of the Eagles-has one on his club. He's a little shorter-and younger-than you might expect, but Zach Hamm is an important part of the St. Thomas baseball team.

Zach Hamm looks like he could be a bat boy or perhaps the team mascot. He sort of assumes the latter role, but what he specializes in is offering wisdom beyond his years, plus advice and encouragement which lifts the spirits of everyone on the Eagle team. Craig Biggio will tell you Zach was an instrumental part of St. Thomas's back-to-back state-championship runs.

"You don't have to be around Zach for very long to know he's a winner," Biggio says. "Given everything he's been through in his life, he's also an inspiration.

"In his own way, Zach commands respect. When he offers advice to our guys, they listen. He offers me suggestions from time to time and, you know, sometimes his way of thinking about baseball makes a lot of sense."


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