| Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children

Meet the imaginative, creative Lexi! She’s a very unique 8-year-old girl with PKU. PKU is a birth defect caused by a defective gene that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. In the United States, all babies are screened for this at birth; however, most countries don’t screen for PKU. Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured. People with PKU need to follow a diet that limits phenylalanine, which is found mostly in foods that contain protein.

When she was born, we had to get ourselves educated on how to support her in drinking her supplemental shake five times a day and stay on a diet that only allows four grams of protein a day. Now, eight years later, we’ve been fortunate enough to finally get the help we’ve needed through our wonderful therapist in the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children. Through the struggles of the pandemic, our therapist has pivoted and found new ways to be there for us. During our time together, Lexi has taken steps to transition away from her baby bottle to a straw cup, and although she’s not just there yet, she’s made more progress than ever before. Just the mention of the topic used to result in either running away or no response at all, and now she does daily practice sessions with her new bottle voluntarily and has taken on every challenge presented to her within the Elks Therapy Program for Children.

As parents, we’ve been given a great gift of emotional support as well as professional support on a topic that is very close and important to us. To see our children succeed and find their way in life in a healthy way is all we wish for, so we are grateful to our therapist for helping this become our reality.

Washington State Elks Association