Digital Access

Digital Access
Access mysuburbanlife.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Print Edition

Print Edition
Subscribe now to the print edition of Suburban Life.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Get text messages on your mobile phone or PDA with news, weather and more from mySuburbanLife.com.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Our My Suburban Life Daily Update will send you all of the news you need to keep up with the pace of news in DuPage and Cook County.
The Holiday Gift Auction is Live! Click here and bid now on great local gifts!
Local News

Caring for Grace GoFundMe campaign helps pay for infant's medical care

Grace (from left), Linda, Alan and Luke Enzbigilis are receiving support from friends, family and the community after Grace was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a condition that changes the growth pattern of the skull. She underwent cranial surgery and likely will require additional surgeries in the coming months.
Grace (from left), Linda, Alan and Luke Enzbigilis are receiving support from friends, family and the community after Grace was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a condition that changes the growth pattern of the skull. She underwent cranial surgery and likely will require additional surgeries in the coming months.

DOWNERS GROVE – Grace Enzbigilis is only 5 months old, but she’s endured more medical procedures than many people face in a lifetime.

Grace, who lives in Downers Grove, was born Feb. 18. She was diagnosed with craniosynostosis and underwent cranial surgery when she was just 4 weeks old.

Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which one or more of the fibrous joints between the bones of a baby's skull close prematurely, before the brain is fully formed. Brain growth continues, giving the head a misshapen appearance.

The surgery was successful, but Grace later experienced an adverse reaction to pain medication, which resulted in severe breathing difficulties. She was intubated and spent three days in pediatric intensive care.

Grace was later diagnosed with laryngomalacia, a condition in which the soft, immature cartilage of the upper larynx collapses inward during inhalation, causing airway obstruction.

A swallow study was performed, and Grace was diagnosed with dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. She aspirated small amounts of formula and refused to eat. She was released from the hospital 100-percent dependent on a nasogastric feeding tube.

“It breaks your heart,” said Joe Enzbigilis, Grace’s uncle. “It’s tough.”

But despite the many medical obstacles Grace has faced, her family maintains a positive outlook.

“Her quality of life is good,” Enzbigilis said.

He added a close-knit family and strong faith have been enormously helpful.

“Without that, this would be 1,000 times more difficult to deal with,” he said.

A variety of physicians have been involved in Grace’s care, including a neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, pediatrician, speech specialist and ear, nose and throat specialist. A home care nurse visits Grace each week. In April, she was fitted for and started wearing a helmet.

The cost of Grace's medical care has exceeded $200,000. Her parents, Alan and Linda Enzbigilis, have no idea what the ultimate out-of-pocket expenses will be.

Grace may require a second surgery to adjust some residual issues not corrected by the helmet. She will rely on a feeding tube for an undefined amount of time, and she may have a tube placed into her stomach, which would require yet another procedure, her uncle said.

“She still has a couple of surgeries ahead of her,” Enzbigilis said. “You have to take it day by day.”

To help ease the financial obligations, Enzbigilis started a GoFundMe page, Caring for Grace, which has raised more than $12,000. The fundraising goal is $20,000.

Enzbigilis said he’s overwhelmed by both the GoFundMe contributions and the prayers and well-wishes his family has received.

“It’s been unbelievable,” he said. “We have the best friends and the most incredible family. It’s just incredible. I think we’re lucky to live where we live.”

---

How to help

To make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/caring-for-grace.

Loading more