Family says thanks after tragic Tibshelf teen loses cancer battle

Karen Dluzewski with a photo of her son Zakk.
Karen Dluzewski with a photo of her son Zakk.

The family of a Tibshelf teenager who died last month have said the help he received in the last year of his life was a ‘godsend’.

Zakk Dluzewski died in Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice on Friday, July 28 – the day before what would have been his 16th birthday.

Karen Dluzewski with her son Dominic outside the summer house that they built for her son Zakk.

Karen Dluzewski with her son Dominic outside the summer house that they built for her son Zakk.

The tragic news came just under one year since he was diagnosed with cancer – and three years since the family lost dad Gaz to the same disease.

Despite their grief, the family say they are incredibly grateful for everything done for them over the last 12 months. Zakk’s mum Karen, 36, said: “Zakk did a lot with the money he was given.

“He was never able to travel to America but he went to EuroDisney, had a ride in a helicopter, and went to Center Parcs.

“It was just great to be able to spend more time together as a family when his treatment wasn’t too bad.”

Karen estimates the fundraising campaigns set up in Zakk’s name generated around £20,000 in cash and gifts in total.

Some of this came from a charity bike ride organised by one of Zakk’s friends, Tibshelf School student, Thomas Allsop. The school say it will now make the ride an annual event in Zakk’s memory.

Karen’s partner, Jonathan Youngs, said: “You can’t believe how generous people are.

“Zakk had over 30 days in hospital when he was first diagnosed and a charity called Cancer Relief in Holmewood covered all the parking costs - just wrote us a cheque straight away.”

Sadly, Zakk’s condition started to deteriorate around two months ago – with seizures indicating his cancer had spread to his brain.

The money which is left will go toward finishing the summer house which Zakk wanted built in the family’s garden – but sadly never saw.

The building, which was provided by Bembridge’s of Chesterfield, will be kitted out with everything Zakk wanted for it including the 50-inch TV he was given by the Shona’s Smile charity for sick children.

“It will be a way of remembering Zakk for all the family,” said Karen.

As well as his mum, Zakk also leaves his big brother Dominic, 18, and little brother Oscar, nine.

Zakk’s funeral will take place at Tibshelf Church on Thursday, August 17 – anyone who knew him is welcome to attend.

The day will mark three years and one day since his Zakk’s dad Gaz was laid to rest.