Zack was told he could ask for anything – a truly heartfelt wish. So he sunk his teeth in and wished BIG and decades old. This six-year-old wished for a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia knew they had to do everything they could to give hope to this young kid struggling to overcome his soft-tissue cancer.
Luckily, wish granters didn’t need a time travel machine. Zack had his sights set on the fiberglass 7 ½ foot tall, 130-pound predator on display during the art exhibit DinoMite Days at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
His mother, Natalie, wakes up her son to give him the news. There was a reporting of a mysterious egg at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The newspaper needs someone knowledgeable about dinosaurs to report to the zoo immediately.
Zack quickly dons his paleontology gear – a khaki vest, magnifying glass and a fossil brush – and rides in an H1 Hummer to the zoo. He meets with zoo curator, Henry Kacprzyk, and confirms what authorities feared most – the egg hatched. Its contents were now roaming the streets of Pittsburgh.
This wish kid confidently follows the tracks leading from the egg that could only belong to one creature: the T. rex. The people of Pittsburgh are in danger of becoming dino-bites, but Zack doesn’t panic.
He discovers that the dinosaur tracks are leading to his house. Tracing the tracks to his backyard, Zack beams a colossal smile when he sees Meaty and immediately climbs on him.
“I named it Meaty cause it eats meat,” he says.
While Zack was on the hunt, Brian Reneski, project manager for DinoMite Days, poured slabs of concrete in the kid’s backyard to mount his new friend. The company that made the original DinoMite dinos couldn’t fill Zack’s order in a timely manner, so Reneski drove to Toronto to pick up the T. rex mold and cast the model himself.
He arranged for artist, Holland Williams, to paint the beast according to Zack’s specifications – a green body covered with pictures of other carnivorous dinosaurs and a special tattoo bearing the name Meaty.
Zack’s parents are so excited about their son’s new pet and the happiness that came with it.
“He’s probably going to want to sleep out here,” Zack’s father, John, tells the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “He’ll probably curl up in the egg shell.”
Zack deserves a little rest after an exciting time tracking a magnificent, fearsome, friend.
This wish was a fitting milestone for the Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia marking the chapter’s 7,000 wish granted since its founding in 1983.