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“It honestly scares me to death:” Young woman battles disease, her parents work to raise awareness

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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers are playing a big series against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park this weekend. It's bigger than would have been expected coming into the season. One of the guys working at the ballpark knows how dramatically expectations can change in life.

When thousands of fans show up to watch the Brewers at Miller Park, they're also watching folks like Troy Jakubowski work. Jakubowski is part of the scoreboard crew.

"It's like a family. There's no turnover. Everybody loves what they do. We all go there with a smile on our face, doesn't matter if we win or lose. It's just joking around and having fun," Jakubowski said.

When Jakubowski looks down on the field from his perch, he sees players who in some cases are close in age to his daughter, Morgan. He also sees curve balls. Jakubowski's family got one of those away from the ballpark.

"I was doing fine at New Berlin West, nothing was wrong," Morgan said.

"And then she started to get a little more clumsy as time went on into her senior year," Troy said.

Eventually, Morgan was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease.

Everybody has mitochondria and if your mitochondria aren't producing enough energy, it's neurological," said Colleen Jakubowski, Morgan's mother. "But other people, their mitochondria might be damage the digestive system...Some people are affected by mitochondrial disease with their vision, heart, any of the main organ systems. And that's what is so challenging about it. It is so vast."

Morgan suffered seizures and a brain injury. She is no longer in school and cannot work.

"It honestly scares me to death. I don't know what's going to happen and I have no friends," Morgan said. "I just feel like my life's been taken away, but I try to make the best of it every day."

Aside from the physical effects of the disease, the expectations of what life would have been like at 23 are tough for all the Jakubowskis to process. They stay as positive as possible and are striving to boost awareness of the disease in hopes of raising funds for research and treatment. They are main forces behind an annual walkathon for the cause.

"There's a lot of people who walk where they've already lost the child. But they are still doing it every year to help find a cure," Troy said.

Troy's goal at Miller Park is to keep the fans informed and entertained. His family has goals at home too.

"Now that I have a daughter who has needs, I am more open to listen to other people's needs and be helpful and just be a nice person. Because it seems really simple to say be nice to your common person, your common man and woman. But lots of people don't do that," Troy said.

The Jakubowskis have had a few tough innings. But the game is obviously not over.

Morgan's mom is the co-chair of the Energy for Life Walkathon, which takes place on Saturday, September 23rd at Greenfield Park. CLICK HERE for more information.