It’s no secret that Tech N9ne’s music resonates through lives all over the world. For some it’s the hard-hitting beats. For others it’s the intellectually gritty, in-your-face lyrics. It might be his unrelenting drive to push the boundaries. Whatever the reason, most fans can agree that Tech’s music reaches them on some sort of personal level. Such is the case for four-year-old Zane and his grandmother Christina from Florence, Kentucky. At six weeks of age, Zane was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (a form of paralysis believed to be caused by a prenatal brain defect or by brain injury during birth, most marked in certain motor areas and characterized by difficulty in control of the voluntary muscles), and his prognosis was considerably grim. Swelling in his brain had caused extensive pressure and bleeding, inducing irreversible damage. Doctors believed that Zane would not survive, and if he did, he would be completely unaware of his surroundings and require constant medical attention for the rest of his life. But Christina, who currently cares for him all while battling and surviving stage IV breast cancer, refused to accept defeat:
“No. You don’t know my family. We are beasts. We do not roll over and die.”
Doctors reluctantly kept him on life support, but they weren’t hopeful.
It was only a matter of weeks later, along with plenty of intensive care, that the baby who was given a death sentence had proved everybody wrong and was on his way home. However, the first few months of Zane’s return weren’t easy: he was unable to extend his arms or legs, unable to sit or walk, and was often unresponsive. Christina began to wonder if the doctors were right–that he would remain unaware of his surroundings and never be able to communicate. It wasn’t until a drive to a routine doctors visit, and a song titled “Einstein” from Tech’s 2001 release Anghellic, that the doctor’s predictions and Christina’s worst nightmare crumbled away. Zane began banging on his car seat, kicking his feet and shaking his head to the rhythm, nearly causing Christina to crash. It was the first time he had really responded to anything and the first time Christina realized that there was hope for Zane, and that he could be reached.
Since that fateful day almost four years ago, Zane responds to just about anything Tech N9ne. His favorites being “Like Yeah”, “I Am Everything”, and “Worldwide Choppers”. He is also able to clap to the music, which is no small feat for someone whose part of the brain that connects the left and right side of the body is damaged. Christina had long been a Tech N9ne fan before Zane arrived, but his ability to create a method of communication between her and her grandson is something she’ll never forget.
“[Zane] may never be ‘normal,’ may never walk unassisted. He may never be able to achieve an academic education, but my li’l man is learning. And Tech gave me my first clue as how to do it. For that, even though I already loved his music, Tech will forever be in my heart.”
So, what’s in store for Zane? No one is completely certain. Due to the Cerebral Palsy, he is still unable to eat or sit unassisted, can only say a few words, and has very limited mobility. Regardless, with the help of Tech N9ne and the love of his grandmother, he’s come further than anyone predicted. He will probably always need some level of assistance, and still may never speak consistently, but it’s clear that he’s not a lost cause. He’s learning, he’s happy, and no doubt he’s inherited some kick-ass taste in music.
– Written By Callie Brown