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. Melvin was born July 31, 1965 to Margrett Tim and Eunice Carruth. In addition to MSUD, Melvin was born blind, deaf and with a club foot. The first couple weeks of his life were filled with constant crying and intermittent body spasms. Eunice took him to Grady Hospital and he was eventually referred to Bellevue Hospital in New York. This is where Melvin was diagnosed with MSUD. He underwent several surgeries and had to wear casts and braces for several years. (Oh, did I tell you the Doctors advised my parents not to get too attached to Melvin because they didn’t think he would live past 6 months). Melvin continued to develop and get better. Amazingly, his sight and hearing recovered. He eventually attended high school and received his high school diploma. Today Melvin is 52 years old and is doing well. He lives with our84 year old mother and attends the adult day care at Frazer Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Our dad died in 1985 of pancreatic cancer. He is treated at Emory University School of Medicine.

Melvin had a younger brother, Kenneth Carruth, who was born June 7, 1969 and who was also diagnosed with MSUD. Kenneth grew up and did well also. He was married and worked several jobs at Kroger and different restaurants. Kenneth would occasionally have seizures and have to be hospitalized. Of course, once he left home his diet was not well controlled. Kenneth passed away on May 21, 2013. An autopsy was performed because he died suddenly and because of his young age. The autopsy couldn’t find anything remarkable. He had a seizure earlier that day and laid down and passed away.

I was born on October 2, 1966 (between them) and was a perfectly healthy baby. In 1990, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I am married with 3 daughters and live with my husband in Stockbridge, Georgia. I code medical records for a living. Now I am doing this work at home.