Doctors diagnosed Zach Sobiech with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, when he was just 14.
In his final year of high school, he learned the cancer had spread and he only had six months to a year to live. He then decided to follow his dream of being a musician. His song, “Clouds,” went viral, and soon even celebrities were lip-synching his music. He even started a charity fund to raise money to fight osteosarcoma.
Zach made a remarkable impression before he passed away at 18 in 2013. Now, his incredible story is being featured in a movie on Disney+. The online streaming network premiered the film on Oct. 16.
Zach’s mother, Laura Sobeich, told TODAY the film came about after she wrote a book based on her experience — both the struggles and celebrations that came in the last few years of Zach’s life.
“At that point with a child who’s dying, you really are just taking it one day at a time. You’re kind of focused on your feet, just one step at a time,” she said. “It was wild and exciting and crazy to see (Zach’s song) blow up in the world but that was all kind of out there and we were really … you know … Zach’s dying and we need to spend this time wisely. “
She said it was a balancing act of “cherishing the time we had with him but also recognizing the power of his story.”
She said they realized Zach’s story could make a difference.
“It became evident very quickly that we could use it for something good and he was OK with that,” Laura said. “We didn’t want to just elevate, you know, glorify Zach. But if that story could lend itself to helping other kids … then we’d do it.”
In the film, Zach is played by actor Fin Argus while Laura is portrayed by Neve Campbell. Sabrina Carpenter, Madison Iseman, and Tom Everett Scott are also featured in the movie.
Before his death, Zach was featured in a documentary by Soul Pancake and had a poignant message for those who heard his story:
"I want everyone to know you don't have to find out you're dying to start living."
His mother said she hopes that's what people take away from his story and take a moment to find peace in their lives in this crazy time.
"I hope this movie inspires people to really focus on loving each other. Zach was very good at that. He was very giving in that way," she said. "When you love the people in your life in your immediate circle and beyond that — that can change the world."