Rome, NY (WIBX) - A local student is helping children affected by illness one card at a time.

Ten-year old Zackerhia Cowling, "Zach," has been fighting brain tumors since he was born.  During a hospital visit two years ago he received an anonymous Christmas card from someone who did not address it specifically to Zach.

Seeing his hospital roommate's eyes light up when he saw the card, Zach handed it to him and said, "It's for you."  The boys agreed that good wishes from others were the best gifts ever.  It was one of the last things the little boys talked about.  Zach's roommate died the next day.

Zach pulled through his surgery and, although he will face many more, is doing what he can to bring joy to other little boys and girls in the hospital.  Last year he and his mom collected more than eight thousand cards.

They have just a few days left to gather this year's bunch before distributing them to hospitals in New York and Pennsylvania.  Zach's mom, Natasha says she is filled with pride for her son.

They are looking for blank cards, homemade cards, and those filled with good wishes.  If you would like to participate call Natasha at: (315) 240.5493 or mail cards directly to them at: 6877 South James Street; Rome, New York 13440.