MINNEAPOLIS -- A Lakeland teenager has turned remarkable talent and unbelievably difficult circumstances into a musical gift enjoyed by millions around the world.
And now 17-year-old Zach Sobiech has also signed with music giant -- Broadcast Music, Inc. -- topping off a whirlwind journey from high school songwriter to accomplished musician.
"Being able to do this at 17 is like a dream feeling. People say that, and it's kinda cliche, but it's true," Zach told KARE 11 on Friday.
Nearly two million people have watched and listened to Zach's song, "Clouds," on YouTube.
But there's no question Sobiech's dream is not without its nightmare moments. "Clouds" was among several songs written by Sobiech as a farewell to his family and friends as he continues his fight against osteosarcoma.
"I just started a study chemo. It's a phase one, which means they're trying to figure out how much of the chemo they can give you without getting horribly sick," Zach said during his recent visit to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital.
Zach's mother, Laura, said the family -- and especially, Zach -- is persevering during a difficult setback learned last month.
"His tumors have tripled in size, which is a big deal," she said.
But while the cancer is expected to take Zach's life within months, the teenager has refused to succumb to the sadness.
"He's always been a cheerful, joyful soul, even from the time he was a baby," Laura said, adding, "the unique thing about Zach in this time of suffering, he is not choosing to wallow."
To the contrary, Zach has reached out and helped people across the world -- including those struggling with drugs or suicidal thoughts.
"They tell me I was inspirational to them, and they can keep fighting, and they can keep going. It's honestly unbelievable to me. It's crazy. And if I can do that, then I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can," Zach said.
"I think Einstein said something like, 'a life not lived for others is not a life worth living.' You have to live for other people or else there's no point. I'm glad I can do that," he added.
Zach is also helping to raise money for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at Children's Cancer Research Fund. On Feb. 16, he will join friend Samantha "Sammy" Brown and singer Vicci Martinez in a concert at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. Sobiech is also expecting to release his new album, "Fix Me Up," that same night. For more information on how to get tickets to: "Up, Up, Up, A Concert for Zach," just go to: http://www.varsitytheater.org/
And to view the video that is making the Lakeland teenager famous, simply go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDC97j6lfyc
You can also find extended interviews with Zach and his mother, Laura, on this KARE 11 webpage.
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