31 Days of SMA: Living Through the Journey of a King With SMA Type 2

BNS Staff avatar

by BNS Staff |

Share this article:

Share article via email
forging relationships | SMA News Today | banner image for 31 Days of SMA 2022
SMA type 2 | SMA News Today | 31 Days of SMA | photo of Zarek, left and in a wheelchair, and Zack, behind Zarek and sticking out his tongue

Zarek, left, and Zack Elizondo. (Photo courtesy of Zarek Elizondo)

Day 15 of 31

This is Zarek Elizondo‘s (@sweetlifeofzackandzarek) story:

Hi, my name is Zarek Elizondo. I’m 26 years old, and at 18 months, I was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 2. My younger years were spent in and out of hospitals dealing with a lot of respiratory problems. Because I was young, I never understood the severity of SMA. My life could be hanging by a thread, but I always had a Superman mentality about it.

As I got older, I started to grasp what SMA was and how it could affect my life long term. By age 13, the demonic words “I can’t” started creeping into my head. One day, I found out the meaning of my name Zarek was Greek for “God protects the king.” It was then that I really started to reflect, and all of a sudden it hit me that I’m blessed. I’m treated like a king every day. I’m dressed and fed by people who truly care for me and want to see me rule the world with love and compassion.

So from there on, my mindset completed changed. With the support of my older brother, Zachary, and my family, I’m able to live a very exciting life to this day, going on trips to seeing my favorite bands or just enjoying life at family gatherings. I’ve been able to enjoy it all just by changing my mindset years ago, which to this day is the best thing I could’ve ever done.

For the past couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of creating content with my brother under the name of “Sweet Life of Zack and Zarek” on all social media platforms. In doing so, we’ve been able to show how we conquer SMA with love, joy, and happiness.

If you’re reading this, just remember you’re not alone, and I want you to know one thing: I love you more.

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.