Meridian Star

November 3, 2012

Zai Zai battles on

By Terri Ferguson Smith /

— A Meridian teen is still hanging on to life as her family and friends continue to pray.

    Readers of The Meridian Star first got to know Ca'Zaundria Zai Zai Holder, age 15, last month in a story about the teen's battle with a brain tumor, metabolic myopathy and mitochondrial disease. Holder also was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 6 months old.

    Her mother, Cassandria Clemons said her daughter has shown some improvements in the last couple of weeks.

    On Oct. 18, a Thursday, Make-A-Wish granted her wish and on Friday, hospice workers gave the family little hope that Zai Zai  would survive the upcoming weekend, when a wedding was scheduled for one of her sisters.

    "They thought she was going to pass Friday," Clemons said.

    On Saturday, Clemons dressed her daughter for the wedding and took her with the rest of the family to a church in Alabama.

    "On the way to the church I heard somebody say 'Mama,'" Clemons said. "I said Zai Zai did you say 'Mama?' and she said Mama again."

    Clemons said she shouted praise to God so much she became hoarse.

    "When we got to the church, I left her in the truck while I was taking some things in," Clemons said. "When I came out, Zai Zai had opened the door and was standing up beside the truck."

    This was just two days after being comatose. The next day, the family took Zai Zai to church and once again, Clemons said, her daughter was growing weaker.

    Church members began to pray and Zai Zai regained some of her strength, Clemons said.

    "I just thank God for what he's doing for my child," Clemons said. "I have no other choice but to live for God."

    The next day, Monday, she got out of bed and went outside where she stayed for about an hour, Clemons said. "Zai Zai is a fighter."

    Johnniessia Clemons is Zai Zai's 9-year-old sister, who said before the illness, the two of them would play school, taking turns being teacher and student.

    A fundraiser to help with family expenses is scheduled for Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Faith and Deliverance Church, 403 38th St., Meridian.

    There will be food, music and speakers on hand. Donations will be accepted also. For more information on the fundraiser, call Beverly Graham at (601) 527-7369.

    T-shirts in support of Zai Zai are also on sale for $12. For information on ordering those, call Clemons at (601) 604-8144.