The Lucky Few

Merreck's Story

A letter from Merreck's parents:

Merreck Priebe arrived on March 07, 2018 at 7:55pm, weighing a healthy weight of 8lbs 1 oz in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. He was a surprise from the start as we did not plan on having a fifth child, but welcomed it and even kept the gender a surprise for the day he arrived. It was my easiest delivery- no complications. We knew he looked a bit different than our other kids, but we chalked it up to being a little chunkier.

The morning after Merreck’s birth, the pediatrician cautiously explained that he most likely had Down Syndrome, and just hours later were told he had to go to a NICU in Lansing for complications that were beyond their capability (jaundice, respiratory issues, low muscle tone). We were at first in shock & denial - as nothing showed up during the pregnancy, but genetic testing confirmed the diagnosis. For the first few days before receiving the final results, we grieved for the child we thought we would have and the struggles our baby would face in the future. Being honest, this was the lowest point in our lives, as we felt a profound guilt and questioned why this happened to him. But we soon realized that Merreck was never a burden, but a blessing we have received. God has made him a very special baby and has chosen us to be his parents. We feel humbled, honored, and blessed to have him as part of our family.

His doctors have been impressed with his appetite, growth, strength, and increased muscle tone—as well as the fact that he does not display the typical health problems that are sometimes associated with Down Syndrome.

So what does this mean? Well, it really just means that he is unique, just like all of us are. It also means that as time goes on, he may have some special needs that are specific to his situation. He shows some, but not all of the signs of Down Syndrome. Merreck is his own person and we will not hold him back, in return he has and will continue to teach us and our other children many things about life and make us a better family.

We know that you must have many questions, and we will try our best to answer, but we all have a lot left to learn. We have already done much research, and we recommend you check out for some basic information for friends and family. Many of you may not know what to say to us when you see us — and we understand. We’re not sure we would have known what to say either.

We know that we have come so far and still have a journey ahead of us in the coming years, but we also know that we are surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family who will be there for us in case we stumble.

God has blessed us with a gift of this sweet little boy, and has brought him into our family. He has made him unique with an extra chromosome. Merreck is a blessing to us, and we hope to be a blessing to him. We are so excited to share more about him, and we thank you for your love and support!


April, Jim & Priebe Family

Mighty Merreck

My extra chromosome gave me extra:


"As a thriving soon to be 3 year old, I am independent, and fearless. I can't be bought with an iPad or a tv, no, I am a hands on kind-of-guy who loves to play. I have 4 big siblings that have to keep up with me and no baby gate or closed door can stop me. I love the dogs, and their most recent litter of puppies. I'm affectionate and stubborn. All the doctors and therapists say I'm impressive, but I'm just Mighty Merreck, one of the Lucky Few!

I am special and I am unique. I came into this world as a surprise and continue to shock everyone each day.

Hi, I'm Merreck and my life... is pretty crazy..."

To bring awareness to the challenges and capabilities of individuals with DS.


Align Asset Management firmly believes in community outreach. And while there are many causes that deserve to be recognized, there is a special place in our hearts for Down Syndrome Awareness. Merreck, the son of April and the Godson of Brittany, came into the world in 2018 and changed everyone's lives for the better. He is a very charming (soon to be) 3-year-old boy born with Down Syndrome. He is the youngest of five children, but an easy going, happy & healthy little guy. He has been given the title of “The Calm to the Chaos” as all his siblings tend to provide the mayhem. However, they will all stop and surround Merreck just to play with him and make sure he is taken care of at a drop of a hat. He easily draws you in by blowing you a kiss and a smile or a wave that could melt your heart. We even find ourselves coming home from a stressful day only to be swept away as soon as you sit with Merreck and are surrounded by his presence. He really does wonders for the soul. We could go on forever about our love and appreciation for the him, but we would like to use this platform as a way to bring awareness to Down Syndrome.

What is Down Syndrome?

trisomy 21 noun

tri·​so·​my 21 | \ ˈtrī-ˌsō-mē-ˌtwen-tē-ˈwən \

trisomy of the human chromosome numbered 21 also known as Down Syndrome

"According to the CDC Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small “packages” of genes in the body. They determine how a baby’s body forms during pregnancy and how the baby’s body functions as it grows in the womb and after birth. Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21. This extra copy changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges for the baby."


April and Brittany are advocates for Down Syndrome because of the joy those with Down Syndrome bring to the world. Persons with Down Syndrome enrich other's lives and it is for that reason that we have chosen to be advocates. There is a stigma associated with anyone who is differently-abled, and Merreck has exemplified in so many ways the false narrative associated with Down Syndrome or T21. He has so much to offer and is truly a light in this world. We want to share his smile and his joy, to break through the perceptions and help normalize. There is a fear of the unknown and it is our hope that we will be able to provide a platform to dispel any myths, educate others, and to create an understanding future environment. In our society we often find that the current systems in place do not cater to those with differences, through fundamental changes we hope to open the minds of society when it comes to those that are differently-abled. Merreck's differences are what contributes to our world and through his smile and sharing his story we hope he will enrich your life too!

The meaning behind our logo

The Meaning

April and Brittany's advocacy for Down Syndrome started before Align Asset Management was "a thing". Owning their own business had always been part of the plan, but as the pieces fell into place and the foundation for the company began to assemble a unique opportunity presented itself when it came time to design the logo. To them Align means to give support to, or arrange in a straight manner. The goal for the company is to provide strategic alignment for our clients and assets and operation. The two circles as the dot for the "i" represents the merging of two differences. April and Brittany are opposite in so many ways, that the ability to ground the other has become a core strength in their partnership. The circles overlap as do many of April and Brittany's beliefs and core values in life and business. And last but certainly the most meaningful part of the logo is the arrows. In 2017, Heather Avis wrote a book titled The Lucky Few: Finding God’s Best in the Most Unlikely Places - The Lucky Few for Short. It did not take long for this to catch on amongst the community and the name The Lucky Few has become synonymous with Down Syndrome. Simultaneously images depicting arrows in multiples of three represent the three 21st chromosomes and the arrows represent rising above and moving forward-- something anyone lucky enough to know someone with Down Syndrome will watch them do! So in honor of our mutual love for Merreck and our desire to advocate for the community we chose to incorporate the three arrows in our logo as a constant reminder that we are blessed to know and love one of the lucky few.

A few of our favorite resources can be found at the sites below.

“I wouldn’t change you for the world, but I would change the world for you.”