Flushing residents are coming to the aid of a young girl and her family in their time of need.
Nicknamed “Warrior Princess Z,” 2-year-old Zoey Gorman complained to parents Brian and Ziklaly of a stomach ache earlier this month. The concerned parents took their toddler to the doctor, who referred them to Cohen Children’s Medical Center for tests.
It was then the family received a heartbreaking diagnosis: Zoey had Wilms Tumor, a kidney cancer, which had occurred bilaterally. This only happens in 5 to 7 percent of cases.
The Gormans received the diagnosis on March 6. Zoey has since begun chemotherapy and other treatments on her road to recovery.
Brian Gorman, who grew up in Queens, moved back to the neighborhood with his family in 2016. He explained that his sister, Katie, started the GoFundMe page on his behalf shortly after the diagnosis and told him about the effort about one week into fundraising.
In just two weeks, the campaign has raised just over $25,000 — half its fundraising goal. It has also been shared over 1,000 times on Facebook.
Gorman and his wife have been shocked by the community’s response.
“[The response] has been really amazing for just two weeks,” he said. “Something my wife and I keep saying is, ‘It’s humbling to our soul.’”
According to the proud father, Zoey “really is just a normal 2-year-old girl.”
“She’s got a lot of spunk. She’s a very charismatic, lovable kid who likes to laugh and run around,” Brian Gorman said. “She enjoys schoolwork and likes being outside and being with her brother, [8-year-old Kalem].”
After Zoey’s diagnosis, nurses at Cohen Children’s Medical Center wheeled a toy cart into her room and let her pick out her very own toy. They also offered her an iPad to help calm her during her initial 10-day stay.
Doctors also offered Zoey a stuffed toy frog to comfort her during treatments. The frog, like Zoey, has a medical port installed into his chest and is used to help her understand the procedure.
“She wasn’t picking it up in the beginning, but after a few days she began to understand,” Gorman said. “The nurses on the fourth floor — all of them have been just amazing.”
On March 23, Zoey received her third chemotherapy treatment. After two more, the family will consult with doctors to determine the next best steps.
The funds raised through GoFundMe will be used to help cover Zoey’s treatment and purchase supplies, like air purifiers and water filters, to help keep her healthy.
“Our friends and family have really stepped in to offer help,” Gorman said. “We’re able to count on our entire community for support.”
Donate to the fundraiser here.