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Benefit being held for child with chromosomal disease

It will likely be either January or February when 6-month-old Jackson Prellwitz has his next open-heart surgery. Jackson was born with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, where a small piece of a chromosome is deleted. One of his symptoms is a congenital ...

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A benefit is being held for a Dickinson family to help with health costs for their baby that was born with a chromosomal disease. Shown above is, from left to right, Tyler, Jackson, Jamie, and Joseph Prellwitz. (Submitted Photo)

It will likely be either January or February when 6-month-old Jackson Prellwitz has his next open-heart surgery.

Jackson was born with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, where a small piece of a chromosome is deleted.

One of his symptoms is a congenital heart defect, for which he has already needed multiple surgeries. He will need surgery throughout his life.

“We had some pretty big issues right off the bat,” said Jackson’s father, Tyler Prellwitz.

A benefit is being held for Jackson and his family -- parents Tyler and Jamie, as well as brother Joseph -- at 5 p.m. today at Lady J’s Club in Dickinson. It includes a free-will donation meal of Indian tacos, and will feature a baked goods auction, a silent auction and a live auction.

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Symptoms of Jackson’s disease vary greatly. According to The International 22q11.2 Foundation Inc.’s website, it is thought to be almost as common as Down syndrome.

It is not technically a genetic disease, so the risk of it passing on to any other children the Prellwitzes decide to have is small.

Still, that does not help Jackson’s situation.

Along with heart issues, Jackson also has a submucous cleft palate, as well as immune deficiencies.

Tyler said the family has had to make multiple trips to the Mayo Clinic of St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., where Jackson is overlooked by a team of specialists. They also have to go back and forth to Bismarck.

With all this, he said the costs mount.

Paula Schaper is on a committee organizing the benefit. She is also Jackson's aunt.

“Several of us took different parts,” she said about the planning process.

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She said it was a disease that many people don’t take note of until it happens to someone in their family.

“He’s going to have several health challenges along the way,” Schaper said.

She said students at Heart River Elementary School in Dickinson, where Jamie is a teacher, have played a big hand in the benefit by creating themed baskets that can be auctioned off. There was one for chocolate lovers, she said, as well as a grilling-themed one.

“I can’t say enough about how Heart River has really become behind this family,” Schaper said. “That part was just unbelievable.”

Silva Barton, a teacher at Heart River who helped organize the school’s support for the Prellwitzes, said there were 12 baskets that different classrooms had put together.

“Each classroom had a theme, and the children had a basket related to that theme,” Barton said.

She said the materials were donated by the children and their families.

“The teachers put some money into all the baskets, too,” she said, adding that she expects several of them to make it to the benefit.

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Tyler said he was definitely grateful for the support shown by the community thus far.

“It’ll definitely help us out,” Tyler said of what money could be raised at the benefit.

Despite all this, Tyler said Jackson and his family have been “pretty fortunate.” There are other symptoms of the disease, including digestion issues, which have not been detected in Jackson.

Tyler said he knows of another child who passed away from the disease not too long ago.

“We definitely count our blessings,” he said.

Related Topics: MAYO CLINICDICKINSON
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