With the news that Cooper Developmental Pediatrician Dr. Caroline Eggerding was retiring, Elizabeth Madonna reached out to share the impact of Dr. Eggerding and Dietitian Anne Starr on her son, Brody. Thank you for sharing this with us, and our thanks to Dr. Eggerding for the impact she has had during her career at Cooper!
“Our five-year-old son, Brody, was born with a rare metabolic disease called phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU requires a life of unimaginable dietary restrictions to ensure optimal health. PKU is a rare, in-born error of metabolism that prevents affected individuals from properly metabolizing an essential amino acid called phenylalanine.
Without expensive medical food, special formula, and constant monitoring with blood tests, these children can develop mental challenges in a short period of time. If left untreated, PKU will cause phenylalanine to build up to toxic levels in the brain, and lead to intellectual disabilities, seizures, behavioral problems and mood disorders. There is currently no cure available, only treatments to help manage the effects of PKU. That is why Brody lives on roughly four grams of protein per day. To put that in perspective, that’s one slice of bacon.
When our son Brody was two years old, we decided to look at other clinics in the tri-state area for better support. We were recommended by a fellow PKU parent to Cooper, specifically for Dr. Caroline Eggerding and dietitian, Anne Starr. From day one, we were greeted with support and love. Dr. Eggerding has an impressive background in metabolic disease, particularly PKU, but her genuine care for our son and an understanding of our day to day struggles meant the world to us. She always made us feel we were doing amazing as parents and treated our son like he was in a very secret special club. We are so sad to see her go onto retirement but so happy for the few years we had her. We wish her the best and want to thank her for everything.”