Our daughter Grace had low birth weight, had trouble gaining weight and soon needed a G-tube for adequate nutrition. During her first year of life she was tested for many things, but no one could explain what was wrong with her. We were referred to Dr. Saneto, who suspected mitochondrial disease and eventually diagnosed Grace at age 4 1/2 with a muscle biopsy. Dr. Saneto and his team have been following and treating her ever since.

Now a teenager, Grace expresses her opinions and wants and needs in many ways. We are getting to know her more and more everyday. She enjoys being with her family, interested in the family activities and conversations. Though still non-verbal, at doctor visits, Grace greets the staff with smiles and interest.

Grace is homeschooled and now receives a consistent education. When in the school system, she kept getting ill, missing so many days each year. She still receives additional services from school therapists and attends activities with other peers her age. Grace is a very social girl and this is important to her and us that she gets to hang out with all types of people.

Grace rides her favorite horse, Blakken at the local therapeutic riding center. This horse completely loves her, and the staff and volunteers rearrange their schedules to be sure to work with Grace. She is pretty proud of her riding skills as you can see it in Grace’s smile during the lesson.

We are so grateful for all the people who help Grace in a year: therapists, amazing school staff, horseback riding volunteers, wheelchair and equipment vendors, family members, extended family members, Seattle Children’s staff, nurses, and of course Dr. Saneto. And to Grace, thank you for being you. Because of you, we have met some incredibly intelligent and caring people who believe in your abilities and hold hope for your future, as we do.

Krista and Andy Perleberg