A father-of-five has been given weeks to live after being diagnosed with an incurable brain disease that is wiping his memory each day.
Mac Frischknecht, 56, is a beloved math teacher from Utah who would spend extra hours tutoring students and attending church meetings as a bishop.
He began experiencing dizziness and tingling in his face in September 2017 and by Christmas he was suffering serious signs of dementia, putting him in the hospital.
Mac has been diagnosed with CJD, a disease that affects one in a million and is rapidly progressing leaving the typically sharp father unable to speak and walk.
Mac Frischknecht, 56, is pictured in his hospital bed surrounded by his family
The father-of-five from Utah has been diagnosed with a rare and incurable brain disorder that only affects one in a million. He is pictured with his wife (left) and son (right)
Mac is pictured with his 16-year-old daughter (left) on the first day of school as he is also her math teacher. His family says he always stays busy and was also a bishop
What is Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)?
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder.
It affects about one in every one million people per year worldwide; in the United States there are about 300 cases per year.
CJD usually appears in later life and runs a rapid course.
Typically, onset of symptoms occurs about age 60, and about 90 percent of individuals die within 1 year.
In the early stages of disease, people may have failing memory, behavioral changes, lack of coordination and visual disturbances.
As the illness progresses, mental deterioration becomes pronounced and involuntary movements, blindness, weakness of extremities, and coma may occur.
Doctors strongly suspect that Mac has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), though they are still waiting for results of a brain biopsy for an official diagnosis.
CJD is a fatal brain disorder characterized as rapid dementia with symptoms of memory loss, behavioral and visual changes and lack of coordination.
It affects one in a million people worldwide and there are roughly 300 cases each year in the US.
There is a 10 percent survival rate and without a cure or treatment patients typically die within a year of diagnosis.
The father-of-five, whose children range from 16 to 29 years old, began experiencing dizziness and tingling in his face in September.
Doctors told him the stress of his busy schedule including long tutoring sessions, teaching night classes at a community college and church meetings were to blame for his symptoms.
However after taking some time to relax his condition worsened.
Around Christmas, Mac was having difficulty reasoning and focusing on average tasks such as paying the bills.
Mac’s son Tyson, 27, moved back home with his mother and sister, 16, to help care for their father.
He told Daily Mail Online: ‘Christmas day he usually hides notes for us to go find and this year he was doing that but it was super off and you could see he was really struggling.’
‘A week or two later it all went down hill,’ he added.
Doctors told the family he may have up to six months to live and will likely slip into a coma before the end.
Last week Mac was talking and could use a walker to move around with support but wasn’t himself, according to Tyson.
‘He’s usually very sharp, always has a list and trying to get things done, always trying to help people, always busy and on the ball,’ he said.
Tyson said that when his father could still talk he showed concern for the family.
Mac is a beloved math teacher and bishop who began experiencing dizziness and tingling in his face back in September
‘Before things started getting really bad he told me on a few occasions to take care of my mom and sister,’ Tyson said.
The father-of-five is also a math teacher to his youngest daughter.
‘One thing he has expressed often is how anxious he is to get out of the hospital as he knows how much it costs every day to be there,’ he added.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for medical bills which has raised nearly $100,000 and is filled with comments from students about the impact he has been as a teacher and mentor.
Last week the insurance company stopped paying for his stay, so Mac has been moved to a different, more affordable center where his family visits each day.
Tyson writes on the page: ‘I pray that in his current mental state that he can comprehend at least to some degree how much people care for him.’
They have began exploring options of bringing Mac home and making him comfortable.
Through the entire ordeal the family has tried to remain strong and positive.
Tyson said: ‘He’s touched a lot of lives of most – if not everyone he comes in contact with and they’ve felt how deeply he cares for people.
‘Don’t forget my dad’s blood type: B+.’
Mac is ‘not himself anymore’ according to his son, and doctors have given him up to six months to live