Being a kid usually means eating like a kid. Things like pizza, cake and ice cream.
But for two children in Holladay, they can only eat fruits and vegetables.
That’s because they have a very rare disease called phenylketonuria, or PKU, which means the children cannot eat protein.
“It’s a metabolic disease where you can’t eat protein,” says 9-year-old Claire Oliver, who was diagnosed with PKU when she was just eight days old.
PKU is extremely rare, affecting 1 in every 15,000 births. That’s about 20,000 cases per year.
“No meat, no fish, no legumes, no grains, no dairy,” says Amy Oliver, mother of Claire and 6-year-old Seth, who also has PKU. “It’s mostly fruits and vegetables that they can eat so it is very restricted.”
For Oliver, her hardest time as a mother came when Claire was diagnosed.
“I would describe it as shock because you don’t expect to get a phone call that there’s something wrong when your baby looks perfectly healthy,” says Oliver.
People with PKU are unable to process the amino acids found in protein.