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Richmond family to appear on Variety Show of Hearts telethon
Nicole Chin hears parents complaining their kids will only eat chicken strips and fries. The Steveston mom, however, wishes her son would eat chicken strips and fries.
Ryan, age four, suffers from extreme food aversion. Eating doesn’t interest him. Dinner brings fear and anxiety.
“It started when he was approximately one year old,” said mom Nicole. “He was completely normal before that. It was like a light switch went off and he stopped eating one day.”
With the help of Variety, Ryan has been receiving sequential oral sensory therapy to improve his comfort around food—a treatment not covered by the public health system. The longtime Richmond family is scheduled to appear on the children’s charity’s major fundraiser, the Show of Hearts Telethon, next weekend.
Grants from the charity cover Ryan’s weekly therapy sessions. Variety supported another 1,276 families with special needs children last year, along with 32 organizations offering specialized programs and services to children with special needs.
“He is a lot more comfortable around food,” said Nicole of her son. “His anxiety levels are much better now.”
Ryan still has an extremely limited diet. His staple—and perhaps the healthiest food he eats—is mango dessert tofu. He’ll also eat pretzels, certain tortilla chips, certain french fries and mini Oreos.
What concerns parents Nicole and Brad is their son’s growth and development. A normal child in every other way, Ryan is small in stature—about the same size as his younger brother.
But in the last six months, thanks to food therapy, Ryan has added pancakes and toast to his diet, and his comfort around other foods is improving.
“He will happily take food and put it on his plate. He’s not going to eat it, but he’ll allow it in his space. His anxiety is going down around food, dinnertime and sitting at the kitchen table with us.”
The 48th annual Show of Hearts telethon begins on Global BC Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. and runs to Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. Donors contributed $7 million during last year’s event, providing funding for everything from new hospital equipment and life-saving medications to physical therapies and mobility devices.