By Nathan Lurz
Source My Suburban Life
Soon after Jack Pribaz was born on March 5, 2009, he began having seizures. He was rushed to the Natal Intensive Care Unit at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, but all his tests came back normal.
During the next few years of Jack’s life, his parents, Mike – a history teacher and golf and basketball coach at Wheaton North High School – and Liz Pribaz struggled.
The community rallied around the family, they said, organizing a fundraiser for their hospital expenses at Wheaton North the day after Jack was born.
But their firstborn continued seizing dozens of times a day. No one could tell them what was causing the epilepsy or abnormal brain activity.
“We spent the first two-and-a-half years of his life trying to figure out what was wrong with him,” Mike said. “We had no direction. We didn’t know what to do.”
A slew of tests at Laurie’s Children’s Memorial yielded nothing. The lack of diagnosis meant that the Pribaz family had nothing to put their support behind and no cure to hope for.
Then, a breakthrough. In 2011, Doctors ran a test on a genetic disorder so rare that it was known only by the name of the gene it effects: KCNQ2. Few doctors were even able to identify the disorder, let alone put the Pribaz family in touch with specialists.
After years of helplessness, they were ready to be proactive.
“We talked to neurologists and nobody was telling us it was fatal or can’t be cured, so we said ‘why don’t we start a foundation?’” Mike said.
It was “all talk at first,” Mike said, but one of the parents of Mike’s JV girls basketball players overheard him talking about Jack after a game.
“If God puts something in front of me that tugs on my heart, he’s doing that for a reason,” Brian Baird said. “I just felt through the conversation that I had a connection to the idea.”
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