Walk for PKU raises money, understand

By: Nick Bona Email
By: Nick Bona Email

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – On Saturday, as the Knoxville Zoo mourned the loss of its popular chimpanzee Mugsy, a group of Tennesseans were racing to end a rare disease.

One out of every 15,000 babies delivered is born with Phenylketonuria or PKU, a disease that targets the body’s metabolism by disabling its ability to break down certain types of amino acids.

Fifty-four East Tennessean’s currently have it, and Saturday morning’s Walk for PKU was their chance to raise money for research and general public awareness.

“Right now the treatment is very limited and very expensive,” said Kellye McDowell, the founder and president of the Tennessee PKU Foundation. “Patients rely on a special diet that isn't very friendly to the pallet. Most people end up leaving the diet and suffer ill effects because of it."

PKU awareness events also took place in cities across the state on Saturday. All together they hoped to raise a few thousand dollars for research.

You can read more about PKU and the Tennessee PKU Foundation by clicking on the link below.


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