Ponderosa Swimmer Paralyzed from Diving Accident at Cameron Park Lake
Zachary Pickett, a Lifeguard at Cameron Park Lake, suffered a serious L7 spinal cord injury when he ran into the water and dove in to cool off on a Saturday just before starting his senior year at Ponderosa High School. When he dove in, he struck a hidden sandbar crushing his seventh vertebrae causing permanent damage to his spinal cord. Instantly, Pickett lost feeling in his legs.
Fellow lifeguard friends immediately placed him on a backboard and called paramedics who quickly responded. Within hours, a neurosurgeon team at the UC Medical Center in Sacramento was treating Pickett. Zachary, who was transferred Wednesday to Shriner’s Hospital, has movement in his arms, fingers, upper torso and is breathing unassisted.
Zachary's father Tod Pickett said, “We pray for a miracle but plan for the practical and right now … practical is that he’ll be in a wheelchair for an extended time.” Several of the family’s short-term goals are to get Zachary back into the water; have him return to next season’s swim finals, and attend a Ponderosa football game.
Tod Pickett is well known in the sports community as the owner of Great Sports Pictures in Placerville. However, the Pickett’s may be more known for their dedication to helping others that face the challenges that life can give. Tod and his two sons all coach Special Olympics for Team El Dorado. Zach's mother Judy is a well-known advocate in the region for breast cancer awareness. Three time Breast Cancer Survivor, Judy Pickett ran her first Race For The Cure in Sacramento, California. Since then, she has run 119 races 38 states! Judy is now a motivational speaker spreading her positive message around the world.
Judy Pickett would normally be pounding the pavement trying to get more players for the 6th Annual Pink Ribbon Classic on August 27, 2012, at the Cameron Park Country Club. Nanette Olander wrote, "When I asked Judy the other day 'what can I do to help?' her answer did not surprise me in the least. She needed help doing something selfless, of course. She needed help getting the word out about her upcoming Golf Tournament Fundraiser,” because her attention and focus is on Zach right now. Golf Tournament information: http://www.pinkribbonrunning.org/index.asp?p=26
Zachary recently passed all the requirements to be an Eagle Scout and was high point-earner for the Sierra Sharks at the recent league championships. He has swam two varsity seasons for the Bruins, is on the water polo team, and has played soccer. His older brother Ryan is a scholarship swimmer for the University of Hawaii.
Both the Oak Ridge water polo team and Ponderosa cohorts have held fundraisers for Zach. From Ponderosa a 20-foot poster signed by the student body was delivered to Zachary followed by a brand new iPad. Camerado Middle School 8th grade class president Seth Wilmoth has organized a fundraiser for Zachary called “Pink for Pickett.” Students (and parents) are encouraged to donate a dollar (or more) to be collected before school, at lunch and after school. The next official fundraiser is Sept. 29 at the Cameron Park Community Center.
“The community has been amazing and has blown my mind. Judy and I are both extremely appreciative and can’t thank the community enough,” Tod said.
"To anyone who has ever had someone help them when you needed a hand, I would like you to please pay it forward," said Judy's Sister Nancy. Zach's aunt, Nancy Mosbacher Woods announced that a fund has been set up for Zach's family at the El Dorado Bank. She said, "The parking alone has run hundreds of dollars, since that Saturday. There are untold expenses being incurred, to say nothing of remodeling of the home, wheelchair van, travel gas to the hospital, rehab, and debilitating expenses yet to come. We are hoping for the best but must plan for the worst. I know most of you do not know him, but this family needs our help. Please sit down and send what you can. It will help the family more than you will ever know."
The fund is at:
El Dorado Bank
Zach Pickett Fund
247 Main St.
Placerville, CA 95667