Introduction of Guests
(16 April 2015)

From Hansard - 16 April 2015

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Advocates Involved with PKU Organizations

The Speaker: — I recognize the Minister of Agriculture.

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to introduce to you and through you to all members of this honourable Assembly, two visitors to Saskatchewan seated with my wife, Linda, in your gallery, Mr. Speaker, who are tireless advocates for people living with a rare disorder called — and now this is the hard part — phenylketonuria or simply, as we call it, PKU.

PKU is a rare genetic disorder which is not life-threatening, but is a threat to the brain. Every bite of food and sip of liquid is potentially a threat if it contains protein. People living with PKU must maintain probably the strictest diet known to medicine and eliminate almost all forms of natural protein and frequently take a medical food substitute. Happily since the 1960s, every baby born in our province is tested for PKU on the second day of life. We test 12,000 babies to find just one with PKU. We do this to prevent severe intellectual disabilities.

Mr. Speaker, seated in your gallery are Mr. John Adams from Ontario, who is president of the Canadian PKU non-profit and has an adult son with PKU. Mr. Adams is also Chair of the board of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders. And Mrs. Nicole Pallone of British Columbia is vice-president of CanPKU [Canadian PKU and Allied Disorders Inc.] association and has a young daughter with PKU.

Two other guests that were to join us today but were unable to attend are Heather Garton of Saskatoon, leader of Saskatchewan PKU network, and also Dr. Dawn Danielson, specialist in metabolic disorders such as PKU. Dr. Danielson was born in Saskatoon, left with her family at an early age, took her medical degree in Winnipeg and advanced training in Calgary. She’s returned to her birthplace recently, and we welcome her back especially as she is the first metabolic doctor to live in our province for 15 years.

Mr. Speaker, I know all members of this House will be interested to learn the outcome of our guests meeting with our Health minister later today, I believe. Let us all give a cordial Saskatchewan welcome to these distinguished patient advocates.

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