Brave Boy Who Was Told He’d Never Speak is Now Honored in Disney Storybook of Pocahontas
A brave 11-year-old boy who was told he’d never speak has been honored in a Disney storybook all about kindness.
Zac Du Boulay, who was born with Moebius Syndrome, won $5,000 in a recent ‘Inspire Like Churchill’ speech competition, but decided to donate all his winnings to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
“I didn’t want the [sick children’s] parents to be sad or lonely, so I wanted to help,” he said of his generosity.
Now Zac has been honored by Disney—in its just-launched Tales of Courage and Kindness—a digital storybook collection.
14 young people from around the world have been given dedications in the storybooks, which feature 14 original Disney Princess stories aimed at inspiring children to help create a kinder world.
A difficult start
Zac was born with facial and oral paralysis which left him unable to breathe or eat.
“I put so much time and effort into trying to speak, and I did the impossible, I proved the doctors wrong,” said Zac. “I didn’t worry about people bullying me, I kept strong in my heart.
“I’ve always been determined, kept strong, and tried not to worry about anything. ‘Hakuna-matata’, as they say in Disney’s The Lion King.”
Zac’s mom spoke of the difficulties the family faced when he was born: “Zac spent his first five months fighting for his life in intensive care.
“We were then trained by intensive care nurses to care for him at home, where we were resuscitating him several times a day under emergency conditions, so life as a family was very stressful and restrictive.
“However, Zac is a fighter. He defied all the odds, firstly, by surviving. Then on Christmas Day, when he was three years old, he said his first word. ‘Mama’.
“It was the first sound he had ever made other than crying and laughing. From that moment on, he was on a mission to teach himself to speak. Then, once his airway had stabilized somewhat, he was determined not only to speak, but to teach himself how to eat orally.
“So we had another couple of stressful years, finding him raiding the fridge and choking on food, until he worked out a way in which to eat despite the nerve palsy to his face, mouth, and throat.
“Similar to his incessant talking, he now never stops eating either,” she joked.
And now? Zac loves using his own experiences to support other children and help them to overcome challenges like he has.
“I feel amazing, excited, happy, and proud to be honored [by Disney]” he said. “It has inspired me to keep on doing what I’m doing, giving more speeches, and hopefully inspiring more people.”