Updated: September 13, 2019 06:54 PM
Zach Sobiech may be a familiar name to you. But to Good Morning Northland anchor Amy Adamle, Zach is much more than that.
He is the Minnesota teen diagnosed with terminal osteosarcoma who wrote the song "Clouds" that went viral back in 2012.
Zach was a freshman in high school when he got the cancer diagnosis. He and Amy met during their junior year at Stillwater High School.
"We were focusing on being seniors and getting ready to go to college, but at the same time, our friend was faced with this and knowing that he wasn't going to get to go to college," Amy said.
She and Zach grew closer, and their relationship became more flirtatious.
"The moment I found out that he liked me, like you find out in high school, it was I think days before or around the exact same time he found out he was terminal," she remembers. "I think my mom asked, 'Would you date him if he wasn't battling cancer?' And I said yes."
They became high school sweethearts against the odds.
"We just knew that for some reason, we were meant to come into each other's lives at that point. And nothing was ever the same since. It was meant to be for some reason," Amy said.
They had a whirlwind of a year together, which included Zach's original song "Clouds" going viral and a short documentary.
"We always were like, 'Oh, this is cool. But it's not going to be that big of a deal,'" Amy said. "Everything has always been bigger than I've ever imagined."
Now, it's getting even bigger. Warner Brothers bought the rights to a movie about Zach's life. Director Justin Baldoni is in Montreal, preparing to shoot it.
"I kind of look at everything surrounding this movie, and I call it the Zach Effect. You know? He has a way of making things happen, and I believe with all my heart that he's still guiding this process and he's very much invested in his story being told," Baldoni said.
They couldn't shoot in Minnesota because of the cost, but Amy and the Sobiech family plan on making a trip to Montreal at some point during the six weeks of shooting.
The movie is based on "Fly a Little Higher," the book Zach's mom Laura wrote. Baldoni said Amy was crucial in making sure her and Zach's relationships is portrayed authentically.
"She actually wrote a bit of dialogue herself that we used in the movie," he said.
Actress Madison Iseman will play Amy. Baldoni met Zach and Amy when he shot the documentary, and he said he fell in love with them and the Sobiech family right away.
"The emotional maturity that Amy had at 17 years old, choosing to love somebody that was not going to be around in six months, you can't even fathom that," he said. "In a time when most 17-year-olds are running away from death, she was running towards it."
Amy said Zach's childhood was torn apart by cancer, but he still wanted it to mean something.
"One of Zach's things was if he was going to have to die, he wanted it to be for a big reason," she said.
A Warner Brothers movie is pretty big.
"I hope that it brings people joy," Amy said. "Because obviously, it's a sad movie. But I hope it brings people happiness in knowing that Zach, this is all he would have wanted from something like this."
It's something of an encore. This time, one that reaches those clouds.
"How do you say goodbye to someone over a long period of time?" Amy asked. "And find the words to say it. So he kind of found the words for us."
Zach passed away in May 2013. Money continues to be raised for cancer research in his name. You can donate to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma fund here.
Updated: September 13, 2019 06:54 PM
Created: September 13, 2019 06:44 PM
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