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13 Days and Knights of Giving: The Zwijac Family

A resilient family stays positive despite a tough diagnosis.
13 Days and Knights of Giving - The Zwijac Family
Posted at 9:17 PM, Dec 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 12:56:13-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The last year has been difficult for Joe Zwijac.

“I wonder sometimes how long I’ll be here," said the husband and father of three.

In January, he began feeling sick. He went to the hospital and left with a life-altering diagnosis: stage five kidney failure. He was left with two options: kidney dialysis or transplant.

Despite the diagnosis, Joe’s wife, Jessica, was determined to stay positive.

“If you wallow in self pity, you can’t get out of it," she said.

With three kids to home-school and Joe unable to work, Jessica went into overdrive - her goal, to get Joe a new kidney. She booked doctors appointments, met with a transplant coordinator and made sure the family’s insurance was squared away.

“You know - do this, do that. I just dove in head first that I really haven’t been able to let myself think about anything bad happening which is a good thing and a bad thing because I know nothing bad is going to happen. I’m praying nothing bad happens. I think I’m holding out hope that he’ll get one and then it’ll just be fine.”

The family has been without a steady stream of income for nearly a year but with help from family, friends and their church, they’ve stayed afloat - and full of hope.

The Zwijac family received a gift of financial assistance from the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation as well as tickets to a game.

“Every time I look at her, every time that I look at the kids, it’s a different life for me than it was the first 39 years on this earth. This last year has been a lot different but I’m enjoying it...Whether I die tomorrow, next year or in 30 years, I am determined and I’m on a mission to leave the best legacy I can for my kids and to help her do the same.”

13 Days and Knights of Giving is sponsored by the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, Suburu of Las Vegas and America First Credit Union.