We were forwarded an article from The New York Times about a father in the Bronx who is the sole care provider for his 4-year-old son, Zahir, who suffers from epilepsy and hypotonia among other life-altering impairments. The story moved us immensely, and we instantly wanted to help this amazing man and his son.
After reaching out to The New York Times, we were put in touch with representatives at New Alternatives for Children, who ultimately connected us with Tyree, Zahir’s father.
As the father of a child with similar impairments, I can tell you with certainty that what Tyree does for his son on a daily basis is worthy of a million standing ovations. The fact that Tyree seems to do it with a grin is all the more reason to admire him.
Tyree gained full custody when his son was 8 months old. “I noticed he was delayed with basic things a normal kid at his age would be doing,” Tyree told us. “I also started to notice he would have these spasms every time he would try to fall asleep.”
He took Zahir to the hospital right away for what he thought were strange cold symptoms in his infant son, but instead discovered that Zahir had a severe muscular and nervous system disorder. To this day, Tyree and Zahir’s medical team are unsure how or when this occurred.
Tyree soon found himself forced to quit his full-time job to care for Zahir around the clock. It wasn’t long before the two became homeless and took up residence in local shelters. “We moved from borough to borough, shelter to shelter,” Tyree told us.
Zahir began missing important doctor visits, and Tyree didn’t know where to turn. Thankfully, Social Services got involved and helped place this incredible father and son in permanent housing.
Though this was a huge relief, it obviously didn’t solve all their problems. Tyree was determined to start working again and put himself through school for a year to become a licensed security and fire guard. In early February 2019, all that hard work paid off as Tyree found full-time work again at a popular women’s clothing store.
Despite his new employment, access to reasonable home therapy was still something far out of reach. Up until our first call with Tyree, they had been transporting the school’s 200-pound standing frame back and forth to their home every weekend, so Zahir could continue his medically necessary therapy 7 days a week. We wanted to fix that ASAP.
Holton’s Heroes was able to purchase Zahir his very own custom stander that can remain in their home to be used as frequently as needed. Additionally, Holton’s Heroes purchased Zahir a Vitamix blender since all his meals are fed via G-tube and Tyree wants to feed his son healthier foods.
The one thing the New York Times article failed to do was offer a link to Zahir’s GoFundMe page. We won’t make that mistake. Please visit and consider donating directly to a father who wants nothing but the best for his son—and will stop at nothing to achieve it.
Check out a very insightful news story by PIX11 on Zahir and his father below.