Photography by Danny Fulgencio.
When Reid Zlotky was 4, he watched his 4-year-old friend Sam battle leukemia. Three years later, his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Reid came home from school every day to a bald and exhausted mommy.
His mother and friend survived, but the experience inspired the Greenhill School senior to dedicate his young life to volunteering for Heroes for Children. The nonprofit provides financial and social support to families with children battling cancer. The organization has provided $5.5 million to nearly 6,000 families since 2004.
Reid was at the Dallas nonprofit’s first charity event, Light the Night, when he was little, and he’s been involved ever since. “It’s a mission that’s very personal to me,” he says. “It’s made me appreciative of and thankful for life.”
In October 2018, he received the organization’s Heroes in Disguise award for his work on the Heroes for Children Teen Board, which was established when he was a freshman. Reid managed the Children’s Hospital Oncology Playroom program, where volunteers who are 16 or older go to relax with patients. He expanded that project to include more volunteers.
Reid also co-chaired the Heroes for Children Valentine’s Day Dinner, an event for patients’ parents. He solicited vendors and contributors, collected door prizes and arranged for flower donations, printed menus and a pianist.
Sometimes Reid just goes to Children’s Medical Center to play LEGO Batman on a Wii with a patient. “It’s the little things that make a difference,” he says.
Julie Siegel, Heroes for Children’s executive director, says, “Reid has been instrumental as a leader and volunteer on our Heroes for Children Teen Board.”
At Greenhill, Reid sits in a sunny courtyard where three peacocks strut around and describes his school schedule. Co-president of the Greenhill Quiz Bowl Club and Jewish Studies Club, he is leader of the healthcare sector of the Greenhill Business Society and serves on the debate team. In 2018, he participated in the Pete Sessions Leadership & Growth Program in Washington, D.C. His favorite class is English.
Reid has baseball practice every day and games multiple times a week. His position is centerfield. The sport and frequency of workouts can be hard on his body, but he plays through it.
After school, he drives his sister home from track practice. Life on Lennox Lane can be hectic. Reid’s 14-year-old sisters, Megan and Allie, are fraternal twins. And he and fraternal twin brother, Ryan, are 18. All the siblings attend Greenhill.
“There’s always a lot going on at the house,” Reid says, pointing out that there’s no special twin language between him and Ryan. “We don’t have twin telepathy either. We’re not total opposites, but we’re not the same person.” Reid is 5 feet, 9 inches, and Ryan is 6 feet, 7 inches.
Reid’s routine includes talking to his mom, checking out what’s for dinner and watching Hulu or listening to obscure British indie pop from the ’90s before digging in on homework. Food is a theme. His favorite restaurant is Burning Rice, where he eats multiple times a week.
Reid studied particularly hard — and put a lot of pressure on himself — to increase his ACT scores. He has been accepted to the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
His advice to fellow graduates is to “believe in yourself and have confidence.”
Photography by Danny Fulgencio.