A 12-year-old cancer patient from Pennsylvania who invented his own superheroes and published a comic book based on their exploits has died.
Zachi Telesha died April 29 at his Allentown home after a five-year struggle with bone cancer, according to The Express-Times of Easton. His death was confirmed by the Allentown School District and the Allentown mayor's office.
In the midst of his illness, Zachi dreamed up a crime-fighting team called Hero Inc. With help from his school and employees at publisher Rodale Inc., Zachi published a 32-page comic book called "Hero Up!" last year. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a nonprofit, Angel 34, that supports pediatric cancer patients. The book is available for sale on the group's website.
The sixth-grader said in an interview a few weeks before his death that regular people can do a little every day to make the world a better place — the theme of his comic book.
Zachi's parents and principal called him resilient and inspirational.
"I'm a true believer there are angels that walk among us to make our lives better and Zachi was one of them," said Richard Kern, principal at McKinley Elementary School, calling Zachi an ideal student.
"He wanted to be here. He wanted to learn. He wanted to be a scientist. He was going to find a cure for cancer," Kern said. "He was an inspiration to me. He was an inspiration to the teachers in this building."
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski said he wants to create a "Hero Up!" day of service and recognition of volunteerism in the city.
"He was just an amazing kid," Pawlowski said. "It would be a fitting tribute to Zachi."