Taking care of business— Mental illness is not a deterrent

Taking care of business—despite mental health challenges

Interview By Andrea Ciccocioppo: Central Penn Magazine

Zack Hix isn’t your ordinary 16-year-old. He’s a cartoonist and entrepreneur, with a successful line of T-shirts—and he struggles with OCD, depression, ADHD, anxiety, Tourette’s and Pediatric Autoimmune Disorder Associated with Strep.

“I knew almost from birth that something wasn’t right,” recalled Kim Hix, Zack’s mother.infant1

Troubles begin

“He was very sick as an infant. Lots of ear infections. Chronic. As a toddler he began to have daily rages,” Hix said.

“Fortunately, my background is in psychology. That was a blessing. I was able to talk to doctors, nurses, psychologists, but it still didn’t prepare me. Nothing I did helped him,” Hix said. “I kept saying, ‘It’s not a temper tantrum. It’s something else.’”

Zack started with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder tendencies at age 2. Doctors said they believe a strep infection induced the OCD.


With the ongoing support of his parents and doctors, Zack started school. “He didn’t have any difficulties in elementary school,” Hix recalled.

And then came middle school—and another strep infection.

Enter PANDAS (pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep)

As if middle school isn’t enough of a challenge socially for most kids, in fifth grade, Zack got another strep infection, which doctors believe caused him to develop tics and Tourette Syndrome. He had head, neck and mouth tics and made guttural and gulping sounds. “At the time, they were very distinct, noticeable and disruptive,” Hix recalled.

School quickly became “a disaster.” “He was picked on, teased and bullied a lot,” Hix said. “That was the onset of a downward spiral for him.”

Zack became homebound for the last six weeks of school that year. He was diagnosed with Pediatric Autoimmune Disorder Associated with Strep.

For the next three years, Zack shuffled in and out of schools and homeschooling, trying to find a good educational and social fit. “I really did have to start learning a lot about what schools legally have to provide for a child with diagnosed disabilities and learning disorders” Hix said.HPIM0425

The challenge for Hix and the schools was to distinguish between behavior issues and medical/neurological difficulties. “I knew what was going on was due to lack of impulse control, mood swings, depression and anxiety, but the staff did not see it this way”

Fortunately, in the eighth grade, Zack was teamed up in a regular class with an “Inclusion Specialist” aide. “She finally recognized [a problem],” Hix said. “She got the ball rolling and pushed for testing. They determined his problems are medically based and he was placed in a class with learning-disabled neuroscience students, many of whom had head traumas or Asperger’s or Autism. “Once that happened, it has been much better,” Hix said.

Meanwhile, the tics subsided and are manageable. The tantrums are fewer. This year is going great for Zack. “Every day is different. You learn to never try to predict because you can’t,” Hix said.

Welcome Good Boy RoyGBR Back logo

Now, a high school student in Simpsonville, South Carolina, Zack is a pretty typical kid. He has raced BMX bikes, played baseball and has always loved to draw and do silly impersonations. His creative outlet for dealing with his issues has been drawing.

Two years ago, he brought home a stack of drawings of characters he had done. “I thought they were really cute,” Hix said. She had a T-shirt made up of one of the characters, Good Boy Roy.

“He names all his characters. He picked Good Boy Roy as his alter ego because after his rages, he is always very remorseful. ‘I really am a good boy, I don’t know why I do this,’ he says,” Hix explained.

As Zack wore the shirt, it got attention. Other kids wanted shirts. Some friends asked him to create characters just for them. Thus began GoodBoyRoy.com, a website that sells items featuring Zack’s characters.

“The T-shirt was nothing we had planned on, but my thought was mental illness does not go away. He’s gonna have to get a job and work when he’s able to work, he is never stable for long, and being able to work for someone else we feel is probably not going to be possible” Hix said. “This is a great way to start. The hope is we can grow this and it will provide him with a source of income after high school and allow him to be financially self-sufficient. Not depend on government support or handouts”

Zack is gifted at art. “Whenever I had an idea in my head, I see the picture,” he said. “I try to think of names. Most of them start with the same letter [such as Hippie Heather]—that’s what makes them catchy.”hippie heather-incolor

Zack attends trade shows to sell his work. “It’s a good opportunity for him to work on interacting with people,” Hix said. “It’s really been great for his self-esteem.”

Drawing his characters has often been his best friend. Zack said he wants other kids to know that if you have a dream, go for it. Everyone has obstacles and challenges of some kind, but if you believe in yourself anything is possible.

Zack said he does all his artwork on paper, rather than a computer. It takes him about 10 minutes to create. “My friends think it’s pretty cool,” Zack said. “My goal is for Good Boy Roy to become a household name like The Simpsons.”   

boy-wonder-bannerThe most recent addition to the Good Boy Roy brand is the new coloring book. Full of the fun, whimsical characters he draws and fondly calls “the Good Boy Roy Gang“. These characters share inspirational and motivating, positive messages for the children to read.

coloringbookcovernami-for coloring bookHappy Harry Coloring BookThis has been a fun and rewarding journey for both Kim and Zack. Following a Dream.


Everything in Life is a Negotiation

Interesting statement. But true.

Everything in life is a Negotiation. At least that’s what Professional Speaker and Best selling author, David Rich believes. Best known for his Contagious series, Contagious Selling, Contagious Leadership and Contagious Service, he is an energetic body of tips, ideas and knowledge.

Negotiation and Persuasion go hand in hand. Like Peas and carrots 🙂 According to David our #1 persuasion attribute is….a SMILE. Easy enough. But many of us don’t do it when interacting with potential or seasoned clients or customers. It makes a HUGE difference in how they perceive US, you, me as a business person offering them a service. A smile, or lack of one, speaks volumes about how we “feel” about our job, or what we are trying to convey to the customer. As I watched David speak to our group, (the second time for me) he smiles, Always. You an tell he is having fun. You can tell he enjoys sharing his stories and information. He is fun.

In his best-selling book, “How to click with Everyone Every Time” he outlines the 10 Principal’s of be “Contagious” Selling, which I will begin to review here, excerpts taken from pages of the book:

Contagious Principal #1: Confidence

Confidence shines through your every movement. It comes through the eyes, heard in the voice, seen in the bounce in your step, how you walk, your handshake and even how you sit. Add it all up and you have Presence.

Confidence is a magnetic quality that draws people and circumstances to you like a magnet. The inward journey of developing true confidence starts with taking inventory of your talents, skills and abilities. Finding true confidence begins with recognizing your talent.So, take inventory of your gifts. Recognize them by your passions and interests.

This is but a speck of the great information I gathered from David and his book (mentioned above). I will go over each of the 10 Principals he outlines in upcoming posts. But this book is a great reference, mine is highlighted with passages and useful information for anyone trying to be better, trying to build a business, wanting to be


Disclaimer: I was not aksed to write this post or compensated in any way.

If you are interested in having David come speak to you as a group, a convention or event you can contact him via his website www.contagioustalk.com

What is your Passion

Mental illness and Family

Mental illness and Family.

GoodBoyRoy's Blog

People buy based on an emotional connection or that Eureka Moment.

The words of David Rich, a motivational speaker and educator I had the honor of hearing yesterday during a business seminar. Just one bit of wisdom he imparted on the group of business people attending the event through our local Chamber of Commerce.

David is a wealth of information and I encourage everyone to read and put to use some of his ideas.

1. Eyes…your Greatest selling tool.

2. Tone of voice

3. Heart, you have to care and LOVE what you do. Being paid should just e a benefit. You heard me, I mean David write.

Did you know 98% of people would quit their job if they won the lottery?? Not surprised? Me either. Unfortunately I have been in one of these jobs, it, not the boss, was a nightmare. Now, I have the…

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Is Crowdfunding for you ??

What is Crowdfunding??

Crowdfunding,  is a funding method where common people like you and me, “the crowd”, fund your personal or business project with their own money. Or, just call it  a donation 🙂 It is a great way to bring awareness to your “project”, idea or whatever it is you are trying to raise funds for.

Most people, causes, organizations, businesses using the crowdfunding platform offer something as a token to those that contribute. We, at Good Boy Roy, decided to give this (crowdfunding) a try. Our choice was a newcomer to the game, Crowdtilt.

They may vary a bit, but for the most part are free, but charge a fee IF you are successful at meeting your goal.

You can view our Campaign HERE

Some of the top Crowdfunding sites are:


Image representing Kickstarter as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

IndieGoGo        Image representing IndieGoGo as depicted in Cr...

Indiegogo is a Crunchie Finalist for 2012’s “Biggest Social Impact.”

Rockethub        RocketHub

Those are just a few of many.

If you have a dream, a project, a good idea or invention maybe you should give it a try. You have NOTHING to loose.

Good Boy Roy’s Portfolio is growing !!

Add illustrator to Zack’s resume !!

In December the children’s book, A World without Circles, was published, illustrated by Good Boy Roy creator, Zack Hix, now 17.

A World Without Circles

(this is Zack signing the contract with the publisher of L’Edge Press)zackandjeffsigningcontract

What a fun project it was for him. He was simply given the story line, and told to draw pictures, whatever he wanted to do. This was great to challenge his creativity along his usual characters.

The Portfolio is expanding for my little guy, well, not so little, he’s 17.kimzack

Watch out 2013…#TeamGoodBoyRoy is on a mission