Gabriella Perko, Vista, CA

Gabriella Perko discovered her love of history and science during the years she was homeschooled in grades 5-8, partially so that her family could retain close control on her PKU diet for Gabriella and her sister, who also has PKU (Hyperphe).  She plans to study Anthropology/Archaeology at the University of San Diego (USD). A competitive figure skater in High School, Gabriella has long been engaged both politically and within the rare disease commmunity as a member of YARR, the Young Adult Representatives of RDLA (Rare Disease Legislative Advocates).  A member of the National Honor Society and recipient of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, community and civic engagement are very important to her. Says Gabriella, “I feel blessed to be born with PKU. Although I have never known any other lifestyle, I can clearly see where my path has taken specific turns because of PKU. I love understanding the relationship between food and how it affects my body and mind. I actually feel that I’m healthier than most people because of this awareness.”