Daily Herald


Garage Makeover Winner, 2015

Garage makeover is the prescription

Walking through a dirty garage with a cracking and crumbling oor several times a day is much more than sim- ply unpleasant for the Tzoubris family of Arlington Heights. It is a true health risk because 13-year-old Tony Tzou- bris Jr. has three immune de ciency diseases and needs to be shielded from germs.

Tracking dirt, dust and road salt into the Tzoubris home can compromise young Tony’s fragile immune system.

“For him, getting a simple cold can lead to dehydration, which can lead to another hospitalization,” said Patti Tzoubris. “We desperately wage a ght each day to keep everything clean so that Tony can stay healthy.” Tony Tzoubris has one of the rarest diseases in the world, called opsoclo- nus-myoclonus syndrome, or OMS. It is named for the darting eyes and mus- cle twitches that are hallmarks of the disease. ere is no known cause or cure for the disease, which is also listed with the National Organization of Rare Diseases. Only about 80 children are diagnosed with the disease each year worldwide. He is also a icted by ulcerative coli- tis (which a ects the intestines) and Hashimoto’s Disease (which a ects the thyroid). Fortunately, after years of intensive treatments, his mother said that Tony Jr.’s OMS is now considered to be in remission.

e state of the Tzoubris family’s garage simply gave them one more thing to worry about. So, when Patti was keeping vigil over her son in the hospital recently after a surgery, she clicked on the Daily Herald website, saw the mention of a “Garage Make- over Contest,” and on a whim, decided to enter.

“We are always so busy that I prob- ably wouldn’t have normally taken the time to enter. But, since I was awake in the middle of the night in a hos- pital room, I decided to ll out the application,” Patti said. A few weeks later the family was interviewed by Jim Melchert, owner of Garage Store in East Dundee, and shortly thereafter, they heard they had been chosen for the garage makeover. “We live such a doctor- lled life that dealing with our bad garage was just too overwhelming for us. So we just cleaned down our foyer all the time and tried to keep our other two chil- dren and ourselves from tracking in the salt, dirt and dust,” said Tony Sr.

“Now, thanks to Garage Store, our garage is beautiful. It is the nicest room in the house,” added Patti. “ e trans- formation went well beyond any- thing that I could have imagined and theGarageStoreownerandemploy- ees couldn’t have been nicer or more professional.” According to Tony Sr., the whole process was very easy for the fam- ily. ey simply had to purge excess “stu ” from the garage and tell the Garage Store sta what they wish they could have in terms of organization. Melchert and his crew did everything else, from repairing the cracked oor and applying a polymer nish, to repairing and painting the walls, to installing some organization systems for their outdoor items. “It amounted to a 100 percent improvement in our lifestyle. Now when dirt and salt comes in on the cars, all we have to do it hose it down,” Tony Sr. said.

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