Friday 24 November 2017

Singer performs throughout six-hour brain surgery: 'It was a very peaceful and serene moment'

Singer Zachary Zortman (Photo: GoFundMe)
Singer Zachary Zortman (Photo: GoFundMe)

Kathy Armstrong

A singer had medics in tears by performing throughout a six-hour brain surgery.

Zachary Zortman (29) belted out songs such as Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud while a doctor dissected his brain.

Last September the Pennsylvanian  man was rushed to hospital after suddenly losing his ability to speak, he was soon diagnosed with a brain tumour.

When he recently underwent surgery to remove the tumour Zachary was first put under anaesthetic by neurosurgeon Zarina Ali, who drilled into his skull to slice through membranes.

He was then woken up and although he couldn't feel anything he lay on his side while medics carried out the procedure.

Dr Ali said it was important that The AKT singer performed throughout the surgery.

He told The New York Post: "The tumor was emanating from an area of the brain that controls his ability to speak — and to sing.

"It became even more important to preserve those functions for him."

Zortman then performed tracks such as Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud and Young MC's Bust A Move.

He said: "I usually perform because I enjoy it, but this time I had my life on the line."

He said he told himself: "You’ve got to really come through. You’ve got to give it your all."

Ali said of the unusual concert: "It was a very peaceful and serene moment. The circulating nurse was tearing up. It was so touching to witness."

Following the performance Zortman was rewarded with an round of applause.

He joked: "I heard them laughing — like 'you did a heckuva job.'"

Tragically tests on the tumour showed that Zortman has  anaplastic astrocytoma, an aggressive cancer which may kill him within two to five years, although some patients survive for up to 20 years after diagnosis.

Zortman is determined not to let the diagnosis hold him back and his since proposed to his long-term partner Annie Mc Glynn, who he plans to marry in November.

Zortman, who performs under the name Zachary William, has also written and released his song, Meant to Live, which he hopes will encourage other people who have cancer.

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