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Simon Asks People To Donate To Sick Boy, But Mystery Phone Call Leaves Mom Amazed.

Simon Cowell was once known as the “mean judge” on American Idol because he did not hold back when critiquing contestants. But at some point over the years, the judge softened a bit, and he now uses his celebrity status for the greater good.

One cause he recently advocated for was “ZacFest”, a music festival aimed at raising money for 4-year-old Zac Oliver who is battling a rare form of leukemia.


Zac received his diagnosis in May 2018 and was scheduled for multiple rounds of intense chemotherapy. According to his parents, the chemo is “keeping him alive” but will not “cure” their sweet son.

Understanding the severity of the rare disease, Zac’s parents started researching alternative options for treatment. Zac is currently the only child throughout the UK diagnosed with near haploid leukemia, so treatment options are limited.  Through their research, they learned about Car T treatment, which has an 80% success rate. Car T is not currently offered in the UK, but it is available in the US.


The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has arranged a place for Zac to stay and receive the treatment, all they ask is “4 days notice”. The hospital even cut the cost of treatment in half, to $625,000 – which must be paid up front. Additionally, Zac’s parents will have to pay for flights, a place to live, and still pay their bills back home in the UK.

So, they organized ZacFest to help them raise money to save their little boy. The goal was to raise £500,000 (roughly $656,300 USD).


Cowell caught wind of the story, and on October 12, two days before ZacFest, Zac’s mom, Hannah, posted a video of Cowell asking the public to donate to the cause. In the video, Cowell says, “Because I don’t like well-known people telling people to do something and don’t do anything themselves, I’m going to donate £50,000” (a little over $65,600 USD).

Whether it was Cowell’s plea, stories by media outlets (large and small), or the power of social media, by October 15 the family successfully raised £430,000 (£10,000 of which came from ZacFest).

Then, early on October 16, an anonymous donor gifted the family another £100,000, giving them enough money to move forward with treatment.


Hannah says she received a call from the kind stranger who told her “not to worry” and “pack her bags” and also assured her it wasn’t a hoax. Then, within a few hours, the generous donation showed up in the bank.

Now, Zac will have a short round of chemo and a brief rest before heading to the US for his life-saving treatment.

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