Zack lived like every moment mattered

Zack McIver with his beloved Maloo ute.
Zack McIver with his beloved Maloo ute.

ZACK McIver may have left this earth after a four-year battle with cancer, but far from losing, he simply decided it was time - on his terms - to clock off for smoko.

And "he absolutely smashed it," according to his big brother Corey.

Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at just 17, Zack was told he had a 97.3% blast percentage and if it wasn't for one doctor picking up the signs, he may not have had more than a few days left.

With medical help in Brisbane and a bone marrow transplant from his brother Christopher, the Bundy boy spent four more years with his loved ones, including brothers Zane, Clinton, Christopher, Corey and Codie.

According to his brothers, Zack never let his leukaemia get the best of him and lived life like every moment mattered.


Zack McIver.
Zack McIver.

While many people become exhausted after chemotherapy sessions, Zack would often jump in his car after treatment and head home to take his boat out fishing, but not before grabbing a Chic's Pie - his and his brothers' favourite.

A meat, cheese and bacon pie to be exact.

The brothers explained that as they grew up near the pie shop, it remained their favourite place for a snack.

"We still always do it, you'd be in Brisbane so long you'd come back and the first thing you'd do is get a Chic's Pie," identical twin Zane said.

A straight-shooter who said what he thought, Zack always put family first and never stopped dreaming about the future.

"He loved to dress nice, he loved his country music," Corey said.

"He reminds me of an older man trapped in a young body. He had to mature pretty quick.


Zack McIver with family and friends.
Zack McIver with family and friends. SImon Young

"Even when he was sick he'd take his nephews and nieces to Movie World and Sea World, he always made time for family."

It was not unusual for Zack to take time to make lunch for his brothers, even when he was receiving treatment.

Cooking up a roast or a barbecue and bringing people together were some of the simple things that made Zack happy.

And that happiness paid off for him as he constantly shocked the experts.

"The doctors were always surprised because they're the experts and know what will happen and he always amazed them with how he'd get better all the time and he always kept them on their toes," Corey said.

"He learned so much, he'd often tell the doctors what was wrong because he researched so much."


FAMILY: From left to right: Corey, uncle Rodney, Chris, dad William, Zack, Codie with toddler Cohen, Zane, Clinton and mum Linda.
FAMILY: From left to right: Corey, uncle Rodney, Chris, dad William, Zack, Codie with toddler Cohen, Zane, Clinton and mum Linda.

Zane said Zack had a special relationship with the doctors in Brisbane who came to know him well.

"He definitely built a different relationship with the doctors compared to the normal patients," he said.

"He didn't just leave it up to them to fix him, he worked with them."

Zack couldn't walk through the hospital without being stopped by all the staff members and patients he'd bonded with.

"You'd walk up the corridor and you'd get stopped 10 times," Corey said.

His brothers say it still feels like Zack is with them, sharing his vibrant spirit and love of the simple things.

"He never wanted too much from life, he just wanted the simple things and was always trying to work," Corey said.

He loved to dress smart in custom RM Williams and Akubra hats and loved country music, happiest in the outdoors with a fishing rod in his hand.

"His dream was fishing in the Kimberly," Zane said.


AT THE RACES: Zoe Neller, Codie, Zack and Corey Mciver at the Bundaberg Cup Raceday.
Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail
AT THE RACES: Zoe Neller, Codie, Zack and Corey Mciver at the Bundaberg Cup Raceday. Photo: Paul Donaldson / NewsMail Paul Donaldson BUN180715CUP6

Zane, Corey and Codie said on behalf of their family, they wanted to thank the people who had made their time with Zack, and his heartfelt send-off, all the more special.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation supplied Zack with a fishing boat through Boats Galore, while the Clem Jones Leukaemia Village allowed the family to stay by his side without having to stress about accommodation.

They also thanked charities such as the Leukaemia Foundation and Red Kite.

The boys said Zack loved his green Maloo ute and had joined the Queensland Maloo club.

Zack passed away on September 11 at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

He was just two weeks short of celebrating his 21st birthday with Zane.

At his funeral last Tuesday, a convoy of Codie driving Zack's ute was followed by members of the Maloo club and a truck from Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport.

"I think he would have been pretty happy with it," Corey said.

In February, Zack told the NewsMail he was grateful to his band of brothers.

"I'm very thankful for having such great brothers supporting me," he said.

His final message to his loved ones at his funeral was "follow your dreams, take risks and that's the only way to success".

Friends and family lovingly sent him off on his next journey with his favourite red roses, a fishing rod and a lock of his mother's hair in his hands.

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