Infantile-onset Pompe disease was no match for my son’s bowling skills

A columnist's 6-year-old son takes 1st place in the second match

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

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For the first time ever, my 6-year-old son, Cayden, enjoyed a night of bowling. We discovered a program called Kids Bowl Free. Bowling allies that participate in this program offer kids ages 2-15 two free games every day during the summer. My mom and I took advantage of this amazing opportunity and signed our kids up for the first time last week.

We decided to have the kids play in their own lane with bumpers, and the adults played in another lane without bumpers. This was Cayden’s first time bowling, and to say he loved it is an understatement. It was so great to watch him enjoy himself, and you could tell he didn’t want the night to end!

Every time it was Cayden’s turn, we’d wheel him up to the lane in his wheelchair, and he’d use a device for children that helps them push the ball down the lane. My younger brother, LJ, also used it at times. Cayden would tell us where to move the device, and then he’d push the ball down all by himself.

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Comeback kid

At first, we started him out with a small, 8-pound ball, but we discovered it was too light for him, which shocked me. We upgraded him to a 10-pound ball, which worked better. I was impressed, because Cayden has weaker muscles than most kids his age, a common symptom of his infantile-onset Pompe disease.

A photo of a bowling scoreboard.

Cayden Camacho wins big during his first night of bowling. (Photo by Keara Engle)

Cayden didn’t let Pompe disease get in the way of things. He finds ways to adjust and adapt, which is amazing for someone so young. He can enjoy bowling like anyone else. He even “bowled” during a school field day a few weeks ago. But that activity was nothing like real bowling. The kids just had to knock down one pin with a lightweight foam ball.

At the bowling alley, Cayden impressed everyone. He came in last place during the first game but then made an amazing comeback, winning first place in the second round. Everyone cheered him on. Even his little brother, Kyree, clapped along with us. Every time Cayden got a spare, he would do a little happy dance. He was really proud of himself for winning, and he didn’t stop talking about it. We heard all about his victory for the rest of the night.

We will definitely be bowling more often. It’s a great way for Cayden to exercise his muscles. Plus, he’s having a ton of fun. I’m thankful that Cayden has learned how to truly love and enjoy life. He’s knocking down Pompe disease, just like he knocked down those bowling pins!

Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.


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