Connect Email ALF Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on YouTube Share
LLC 2012 Liver Champions Custom Header
National Custom Page Photo
Liver Champion - Matthew Image Final

Our 2015 National LIVEr Champion is Matthew Pracko, an energetic pre-teen who loves sports including running, baseball, and gymnastics. This is his story with liver disease as told by his mother, Amy Pracko:

"Our journey with liver disease really began back in May of 2002, when we found out that my mother was suffering from non-alcoholic liver disease. She eventually passed away from this disease in March of 2004. In the summer of 2006, our son, Matthew, was suffering from unexplainable vomiting episodes. While exploring explanations for the vomiting we discovered that Matthew’s liver enzymes were elevated.  After months of testing and still no answers we took Matthew to a heptalogist at The University of Chicago. After one visit she had found the culprit of the elevated enzymes. Matthew has a genetic liver disordered call Alpha-1 Anti-trypsin deficiency. What this means is, his liver doesn’t produce enough of the Alpha protein to protect his soft tissues such as his liver and his lungs. There is currently no cure for this disorder other than transplant, lucky for us Matthew just needs to be monitored at this time. He was visiting our physician every 6 months with annual blood tests and ultra sounds and last year he was moved to just a yearly check in. 

After being told about Matthew’s condition, we scoured the internet looking for information about the liver and this disorder, this is how we became involved with the ALF. We have participated in the Liver Life Walk since 2009. Last year after doing a radical lifestyle change myself I started running for exercise, however, unless there is a goal at the end of anything I am not one to stick with activity. So, I challenged myself and joined the liver life challenge team. One year from starting my healthy life style I was completing my first ever marathon. As most parents say there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our children and this was one of those times. I showed up to the first training run, prepared to run 5 miles (let me tell you running one mile at that point did not sound the least bit appealing) but I pictured Matthew going through all of the testing and poking and prodding and told myself if he can do that with a smile on his face then I could certainly run 5 miles. I continued on with the 18 week training program and believe me there were many times that I wanted to quit and then I reminded myself that not only was I running for Matthew, I was running for all of the families suffering from liver disease. Without the support from all of us, the funding to help end liver disease would not be possible. So whatever your reason is for running with the ALF, please remember that the little boy pictured above is counting on there being a cure one day, and without you that will not be possible."

The Prackos are superstar ALF supporters and fundraisers. They have participated in a Liver Life Walk every year since 2009. Matthew's mother, Amy, has run three marathons with Team ALF. Matthew has also started running on behalf of the American Liver Foundation.

2012 LLC Registration Button
2012 LLC Donation Button
LLC 2012 Find Challenge Button