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Long before we were ready, we sadly said goodbye to our daughter Jennie Verbeek, who was involved in a serious accident on June 11, 2015. She was hit by an automobile while crossing the road on her mobility scooter.

Jennie was born November 20th, 1973. She was 7 days old when she was diagnosed with Maple Syrup Urine Disease. This made her the first diagnosed case in Ontario and even though the prognosis was poor at the time, she was able to beat the odds. They started treatment at 8 days of age, but a day later she had 5 Cardiac Arrests, which left her with mild Cerebral Palsy.

She grew up a happy girl and her dad nicknamed her Smiley because her smile was her trademark. The doctors were always delighted with her blood results and when we asked if she should have a liver transplant, they did not recommend it since she meticulously followed her prescribed diet. As soon as Jennie became a teenager, she started to keep a diary of everything she ate. If she was short on equivalents she would make it up by adding peas. Her favorite vegetables were fried potatoes and turnips. We could always tell when her levels were off because of the missing sparkle in her eyes.

Jennie enjoyed a very active social life; she made many friends, because of her bubbly and outgoing personality and her fun loving spirit. She never let MSUD prevent her from going places or doing things she loved. Jennie loved to travel and had been to Tennessee on a school trip, with the family to Aruba, twice to Europe and visited many of the cities where the symposiums were held. She was so looking forward to attending this year’s MSUD symposium and to visit Dollywood on the way back home. She never traveled without her doctor’s ‘To whom it may concern Letter’ in case of an emergency.

She enjoyed a great number of hobbies ranging from piano lessons, bowling, card making, shopping, crocheting and riding her scooter - to show her independence.

Jennie had a love for people and had the gift to gab. She truly enjoyed having a conversation with anyone who would join her. Her willingness to serve in any way possible made her a big part of our church community and our community at large.

My husband and I could never have asked for a more wonderful daughter. Everything she did made us proud. We take comfort in knowing that she is safe in the arms of Jesus and that our much beloved little girl made a true difference to others. Jennie’s big wonderful smile, her unconditional love, caring and the beauty she brought into our lives will live on forever.



Melvin Carruth

This letter is a tribute to my brother Melvin Carruth! We believe he is one of the oldest living African Americans with Maple Syrup Urine Disease.

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A Child's Life

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