When he was four months old, Kurt and Brenda Warner's son Zack suffered a traumatic brain injury that changed his life forever.
But after watching Zack grow up and go on to accomplish things beyond their expectations, Kurt and Brenda decided to create Treasure House in order to help other men and women in Zack's situation reach their full potential, as well.
"He exceeded all expectations, graduated high school, and I think Brenda and I thought, Well, that’s awesome. He’s exceeded expectations, we’ve got a room in the back of the house for him, and we’ll just kind of see what happens next," said Kurt Warner, former Arizona Cardinals quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer. "What I realized through that process was we were actually holding him back. What we saw through high school was him thriving, him working in the community, him working with a peer group. Then, when he got (home), it was like everything he wanted to do was subjected to, what’s my schedule? Where are we going? What are the other kids doing?
"It was at that time that we kind of got this vision that there’s so much more out there for Zack, and for families like ours, and for young men and women like Zack to be able to dream and have purpose."
Located in Glendale, Treasure House is a living community for young adults with developmental disabilities. Residents live in their own furnished apartments and are given opportunities to grow through work, education and volunteer opportunities.
For the Warners, it's an accomplishment that was years in the making.
"My wife called me at some point and said, 'I think we need to build these community living facilities for young men and women with intellectual disabilities.' And I’m like, 'OK, I have no idea what that means. But if you’re passionate about it, we’ll see what we can do.' Fast-forward a few years, and now we have Treasure House.
"It’s starting to pick up, and you’re starting to see these peers and the energy in the place, and the way that they’re connecting with the community, and we’re starting to see our vision and our dream come to pass."
Last year, the Warners held their first Celebrity Game Night event in the Valley in order to raise funds for Treasure House. On Feb. 15, the Warners will hold their second such event, at which Warner's former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald will be honored. Other celebrities such as Cardinals running back David Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo and D-backs pitcher Archie Bradley are also set to appear.
"It was awesome. I think it exceeded all expectations," Warner said of last year's event. "I think people that came around the Valley really enjoyed it because it was different, it was interactive, it was fun. We’re just hoping to build on that this year and hoping it becomes a staple here in the Valley as we continue to try to impact this community and communities around the country."
So -- exactly what kinds of games can those who attend Celebrity Game Night expect?
"We want to be a little different than we had last year, but you can kind of think The Price Is Right, Hollywood Game Night, and mix your favorite game in there. We’re going to mix it up," he said. "People don’t know exactly what to expect, and you show up and you may have an opportunity to play from the audience, and you may have an opportunity to come on the stage and play with one of the celebrities to win some great prices, but all for the benefit of Treasure House (so we can) continue to build what we started."
Treasure House currently has about 10 residents -- but through events like Celebrity Game Night, the Warners are hoping to help a lot more young people in the same situation as Zack.
"We have a long way to go," Warner said. "And that’s the reason we Celebrity Game Night -- to build awareness, to raise funds, to be able to continue to improve what we’re doing now but expand what we’re doing so other families like others, other young men and women like Zack, have the opportunity to dream differently and have purpose in life."