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Grey's Anatomy Fans Are Fighting Back Tears Over Zola's Emotional Presentation

As the reigning titan of multi-season medical dramas populating the episodic TV universe, "Grey's Anatomy" has gifted fans with few more heavily-burdened characters than Aniela Gumbs' long-suffering Zola Grey Shepherd. Across her 50-plus episodes on the series from 2013 to 2022 (per IMDb), the adopted daughter of doctors Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and the now-deceased Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), Zola has shouldered both medical and emotional challenges from her first moments on the show.

Born with spina bifida, Zola's surgery to correct that is followed by a second operation for a hernia, all while she's still an infant. Jumping ahead in time, Meredith is pregnant when she collapses after her water breaks, and little Zola, seeing her bleeding on the floor, is the one who calls 911. Still not enough childhood trauma for you? Zola later has to deal with her adoptive dad Derek being in a horrific vehicle accident, and then is at the hospital with her mom when Meredith makes the impossible decision to have Derek taken off life support. So, while these and other moments on the series may have had fans choking up, why did Zola's recent presentation on "Grey's Anatomy" have many viewers blinking back tears?

Fans were gripped by Zola's response to the medical issue facing her mom and aunt

On the "Wasn't Expecting That" episode of Season 19 of "Grey's Anatomy," the long-simmering narrative of the on-again, off-again romance between Meredith and Dr. Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman) is brought to the forefront with Meredith confronting Marsh about his lack of communication with her since his return to the hospital. When this is resolved, she invites him to Zola's upcoming presentation at school.

But while they watch Zola give her talk that night about her grandma's struggle with Alzheimer's, the young girl is overwhelmed on stage with the realization that her mother Meredith and her aunt Maggie (Kelly McCreary) are also likely to develop the often-terminal disease. Fans posting on the show's official Twitter feed @The_GreyMethod have serious feelings about the scene. Series' fan @MaurineAUniver2 admitted, "This clip got me crying so hard." They then went on to say they'd lost people close to them to this terrible disease. Twitter user @MelindaHurd2 chimed in to say she was also affected by the moment, writing, "It broke my heart! She loves her mommy so much." And @AYA_ayatma simply responded with "Ohhh Zola" followed by a single, sad, little broken-heart emoji.