Meet Zachary

The Nieves family has a full household with four children, two small dogs, one cat and three hedgehogs, yet they felt their family wasn’t quite complete. 17-year old Zachary yearned for a larger dog, one that was calm and well-behaved on a leash – a big benefit when you are in a wheelchair. Zachary was born with cerebral palsy, which limits his movement and makes everyday activities very difficult. Even with long-term treatment and physical therapy, Zachary suffers from depression and struggles to connect with others. The Nieves finally felt whole when the Stink Bug Project matched them with a loving lab mix known as BFG, a.k.a. Big Friendly Giant.

BFG immediately formed a special bond with Zachary, who is now reaching unprecedented milestones. Thanks to the Stink Bug Project, a program of RMCHF, Zachary has a new found sense of confidence and independence as he teaches BFG commands and tricks. And although Zachary has active medical concerns, life with his furry best friend has drastically improved.

Today, Zachary is a happy teenager thanks in-part to the support his family received from RMCHF and the Stink Bug Project. Every day, RMCHF received requests from families who have a child diagnosed with a serious medical condition and are looking for the perfect furry companion to bring joy and comfort when times are tough. Each child’s illness, injury or birth condition is different, as is the support their family needs. In the face of a family’s every-changing needs, RMCHF provides consistent support to foster hopeful and healthy families.

Your support makes outcomes like this possible. Please consider making a gift to help. Your gift to RMCHF ensures we will be there when a family like Zachary’s needs us most.

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“Normal kids can walk across the street for a playdate. Zach can’t do that. His best friend is BFG. When we are outside, instead of people staring at his chair, they focus on the dog. It’s a different conversation starter; it’s a better conversation starter.” – Jessica, Zach’s mom


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If you have any questions or comments about making a holiday gift, please contact Sarah, development officer, at 720.507.0922 or at Thank you!

Your gift makes a difference

The dollars that go to RMCHF go directly to patients and their families and that sets this foundation apart from others where fundraising is for the bricks and the mortar and the equipment. It’s really for the families and the patients. -Dr. Steve Leonard



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