The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Journalism student dies of cystic fibrosis

Zachary Baim, a former Sundial photographer and photojournalism student with aspirations of one day being a professional scriptwriter, died April 25 at USC Medical Center while waiting for a lung transplant. He was 25.

Baim, a senior who suffered the effects of cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that affects breathing passages of the lungs and the pancreas, an organ that helps break down and absorb food, never let his illness affect his attitude.

While Baim’s condition had temporarily forced him out of classes in past semesters, often for several weeks at a time, he again recently left his classes due to his failing lungs, Zachary’s mother told the Sundial.

“He never wasted his life,” said Linda Baim, Zachary’s mother, in recalling what she said was her son’s jam-packed existence. “He filled every minute. We thought he was so remarkable and so incredible.”

Linda said that along with her son’s zest for life – he loved everything from playing the drums to practicing card tricks and entertaining his friends – Zachary was also an avid scriptwriter “with comical ideas about things he saw in life.” She said he had even crafted a script for an episode of “The Simpsons,” one of his favorite television shows.

She said Zachary, who died a peaceful death while under sedation, made a positive impression on all those who knew him.

“He was such a sweet guy, very unselfish, he had so many friends,” she said.

One of Baim’s best friends, CSUN student Chris Whitlock, said he would always remember the strength that Zachary possessed. He said that when Baim’s younger sister passed away from the same disease at age 16, he still stayed strong and pushed on.

“Through everything, he kept going,” he said. “Life is so short and he taught us to achieve the things you want to.”

Whitlock, who remembers getting to know Baim in his ninth grade class at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills said his best friend never seemed to have a lot to complain about, and that he never wanted sympathy from others.

“He was born with the disease. He wasn’t even supposed to make it past 6 months,” he said.

Robert McDonald, former editor in chief of the Sundial, also spoke highly of Baim’s character. McDonald, who was a past classmate of Baims, commented that Zachary was a amazing individual that students couldn’t help but like and admire.

“You could tell he was going to make a good journalist or photographer,” McDonald said.

In spite of Baim’s failing health, David Blumenkrantz, his former photo documentary professor, said that as a student, Zachary had a great spirit and got along with everyone.

“He was talented and artistic,” he said, recalling a class assignment that called for students to document social services programs for kids.

“He would bring back photos that were very abstract and artistic,” Blumenkrantz said.

Though visibly shaken over the fresh loss of his friend, Zachary’s best friend Chris Whitlock relayed one of Zachary’s wishes.

“He would not want anyone of us to be sad, cry or feel bad. He wants us to just keep going,” he said.

Zachary Baim was honored by his family and friends on Sunday at Eden Memorial Park in Mission Hills.

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