Meet this dino-tastic 5-year-old!



If you want to know how to spot a Stegosaurus, Diplodocus or an Apatosaurus, just ask five-year-old Zachary. There's not a lot Zachary doesn't know about dinosaurs.

Zachary's dad David said his son is fascinated by these giant prehistoric creatures, and his collection of toy dinosaurs is his pride and joy.

"Zachary's such an easy-going kid. He's always full of energy and he's happiest when he's playing with his dinosaurs or reading all about them," he said.

Sadly, their energetic little boy was suddenly struck by a serious illness earlier this year.  

Zachary's mum Rachael said it was all so sudden, and his symptoms seemed to appear out of nowhere. "It literally happened overnight; Zachary got fevers and hot red lumps appeared on his shins."

The family faced weeks of uncertainty as Zachary had to endure constant tests and painful treatment at Royal Darwin Hospital.

Zachary in hospital

"We were very concerned with the 'not knowing' what was wrong with Zachary," Rachael said. One bright light during this difficult time was meeting Captain Starlight, who helped ease the family's stress and pain. 

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Captain Starlight was able to put a smile on Zachary's face (and ours), and the Starlight Express Room gave us all an escape from everything that was going on.
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Rachel, Zachary's mum

Tests ultimately revealed Zachary had an infectious disease known as Melioidosis. "We were so relieved to have the diagnosis and to be told that Zachary had a good prognosis of a complete recovery," David said.

While Zachary underwent treatment, everything had to be put on hold. Both Zachary's mum and dad had to take leave from work and took turns staying overnight with Zachary in hospital. Rachael said having the Starlight Express Room at Royal Darwin helped make their hospital experience so much easier to manage, and gave Zach something fun to look forward to. 

Zachary in Starlight Express Room

"Captain Starlights are the real treasure; they are always so positive and engaging," she said.

Describing the Starlight Express Room as a haven away from all things medical, Rachael said:

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The Starlight Express Room takes away the hospital without leaving the building. It's where kids can just be kids again and not just patients.
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Rachel, Zachary's mum

Zachary loved setting challenges for Captain Starlight and appearing on Starlight TV. The Captains always made Zachary laugh and smile and were a great distraction from the stress and pain of his illness and treatment. 

Zachary on Starlight TV with Captain Starlight

To Starlight supporters David said: "There is no way to really understand the positive impact Starlight has without going through the process yourselves, but that is something I would not wish on anyone. Thank you for making our hospital stay bearable and giving our son something to look forward to."

Zachary with parents

To help fund the new Starlight Express Room at the Royal Darwin Hospital to help kids like Zachary, please get in touch with Louise Baxter at or call (02) 8425 9546.

Stories like these are only made possible thanks to our generous supporters. If you'd like to help make a difference for a child, you can donate below.
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