Healthy Living

Young Children's Hospital Los Angeles patient is Lego-building whiz

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Anyone watching 6-year-old Dylan Prunty shouldn't look away for a second, or else they'll miss how quickly he can assemble a 400 piece Lego set.

"My mom wants me to be an engineer," he said.

Prunty is a patient at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and in the two months he's been there, he's built close to 70 trains, planes, cars, temples and dragons. He doesn't watch TV or play video games, and Prunty won't stop for blood draws, breathing treatments, or even an interview.

Prunty has a severe form of mitochondrial disease. The powerhouse of his cells doesn't create enough energy to sustain his body. Parts of him are shutting down. Kidney stones are causing terrible pain.

But piecing together Legos is better than medicine for Dylan, who says he feels OK when playing with them.

"It distracts the pain too," he said.

His doctors also notice the difference.

"As the Legos are being built it seems that he can actually focus on what he is achieving," said Dr. Mimi Kim.

For Halloween, the nurses made Prunty CHLA's official pediatric Lego specialist. It's a role he was born to play.

The directions to build a VW van out of Legos say you have to be 16 and older. It has over 1,300 pieces and has its own built-in kitchen and motor. But putting it together was no challenge for Prunty, who can build anything you give him. He is particularly fond of cars and trains because, in his world, they transport him to a different place.

"Just the way he talks about it, he almost puts him in one of those places instead of being here," said his mother, Kapka Prunty.

Prunty's family lives in Las Vegas. As of now, they have no idea when he'll be able to leave the hospital. Prunty's condition requires the attention of 10 different pediatric specialists.

Before his interview was over, Prunty had completed another Lego project.

"It is easy for me," he said.

His ultimate goal is to build an entire Lego city. But for now, his next creation will be a cargo train. It's one step at a time, for a child who has mastered the art.

Prunty's family is spending a fortune on Legos, but they can't deny the magic they bring to him. If you would like to send Legos to Prunty, or send money to help buy him Legos, please send your contributions to:

Dylan Prunty

c/o Media Relations

Children's Hospital Los Angeles

4650 Sunset Boulevard, MS #138

Los Angeles, CA 90027

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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health, children's health, healthy living, denise dador
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