It’s time to Get Zempathy™
Join father-son duo Joshua and Mitchell as we elevate the conversation about empathy and advocate for those facing chronic illness.
The ability to:
- Try and understand or appreciate another’s situation or predicament and adjust attitudes and actions accordingly.
- Recognize and respond to vulnerability or need with compassion.
- Acknowledge that we are each as unique as a zebra’s stripes, defying superficial labels or assumptions.
Read Our Stories
Introducing The Zebra Chronicles: A Father/Son Journey Through Illness, Healing & Spirit…and a Call for Empathy
A Nord Stage 3 keyboard, a mystic surf-green Fender Telecaster guitar, and an amplifier rest just a few feet from his bed, but they might as well be thousands of miles away. Some days, Joshua Weitzman, 22, is hardly well enough to get out of bed,...
Raise awareness of the need for empathy-everywhere, but especially within the healthcare system
Empower patients and caregivers to request empathetic care at each stage of their healthcare journey
Influence healthcare culture
About Mitchell and Joshua
Joshua Weitzman, 22, is on leave from music studies at NYU while he seeks treatment for post-viral Long COVID, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Like a conductor, Joshua has orchestrated a symphony of specialists on his journey to better health.
Mitchell Weitzman, older than 22, is the proud father of a young man with an ‘old soul’ whose courage, resilience, and determination never fail to astound. Mitchell is a health care lawyer and author who hopes and prays that Joshua is granted the health he needs to share his talents with the world.
“The Zebra Chronicles™”?
Already coping with Crohn’s Disease and Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Joshua asked one of his doctors to explain a sudden onslaught of seemingly random bouts of low-grade fever, migraines, racing heartbeat, and debilitating fatigue. The provider, however, shrugged off his symptoms as manifestations of pre-existing illness, citing an old medical school trope, ‘when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras.’ The trope suggests that a doctor should first think about what a more common or likely diagnosis is before exploring other possibilities.
Joshua left that provider’s office frustrated and dejected. He intuitively knew that his illness was significantly more complex than horses and zebras. But the encounter sparked a search for answers, a move across the country to access better care, and the creation of this blog. We acknowledge the support and knowledge Joshua has gained from other chronically ill patients posting on social media, and hope that this blog amplifies the call for healing and empathy.