David Mendez

Redondo About Town

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Medical fundraiser

for Redondo alum

planned for Dec. 13

 

A fundraiser to help Zach Zent and his family with medical costs to treat cancer will be held next week, at Samba Brazilian Grill, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13. A $25 donation will be requested at the door.

In October, Zent, a graduate of Redondo Union High School, was diagnosed with stage four sarcoma, a rare variety of cancer that has put his pursuit of a law degree on a scholarship from University of Chicago on hold.

Event organizer and Redondo Beach Councilman Todd Loewenstein took to Zent immediately, drawn by their commonalities. For one, Zent had chosen the University of Michigan, Loewenstein’s alma mater, to pursue his undergraduate degree. For another, like Loewenstein, Zent also suffers from Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory disorder.

Zent was among the top of his academic class at RUHS, holding a 4.2 GPA and captain of both the football and lacrosse teams. But during his junior year, he missed a recognition ceremony as doctors removed a part of his intestine ravaged by Crohn’s.

“What impresses me is the fact that he’s battled through these things and kept a positive attitude – I know some people really suffer,” Loewenstein said. “He’s shown that he’s been able to battle through things in his life, and I’m hoping he pulls through this as well.”

Gentil Smith introduced Loewenstein to Zent about four years ago, when Zent was working a summer job at a bike rental shop on Harbor Drive. Smith has been close friends with the Zent family for decades, and has known Zach for literally his entire life. Luz, Zach’s mother, invited Smith to be in the delivery room the day he was born.

“I adore his mother, and she told me that I could be there; I felt honored to do it, and he’s been very special to me,” Smith said. “I’ve watched him, from the day he was born, grow and be a fine man.”

Zent was well on his way toward continuing in his parents’ tradition of civil service. Luz is an employee of the City of Redondo Beach, and his father Steve is a retired Redondo Beach police officer.

His law studies have taken him to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and to a position with Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the country’s top law firms.

Since getting his cancer diagnosis, Zent has undergone aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Updates by friends at a YouCaring fundraising page indicate that he may go through as many as four more rounds of chemotherapy.

Smith and Loewenstein are hoping next week’s fundraiser at Samba brings some ease to the Zent family.

“For all of the rancor that goes on here, we [as a community] get behind these situations,” Smith said. “It takes your breath away.”

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