A school field day becomes a special outing for my young son

School staff, a nurse, and a personal care assistant pitched in for a fun event

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

Share this article:

Share article via email
main graphic for the column

Last week, for the first time, I was able to watch my 6-year-old son, Cayden, participate in a field day at school. I remember having field days when I was in elementary school and was excited for Cayden to have a similar experience.

Parents were invited to tag along to watch the children, and I’m glad I was able to join them. Cayden’s face expressed pure joy and excitement the entire time. I was a bit worried that he wouldn’t have as much fun as the other kids because he’s in a wheelchair. But I soon realized that I had no reason to fear.

Because Cayden has infantile-onset Pompe disease, a personal nurse and a personal care assistant attend school with him every day. Both of them did an amazing job making sure Cayden participated in everything. At one point, his nurse even got Cayden out of his wheelchair and carried him while speed walking across the field during an obstacle course.

I was in awe, to say the least. Cayden is getting pretty heavy, and it’s not easy to pick him up and walk around with him. However, his nurse didn’t let that get in the way. She made it her mission to make sure Cayden was included in field day activities as much as the other kids.

Recommended Reading
An illustration of a sleeping baby with teddy bear.

Early ERT Is Key to Better Outcomes in Infantile-onset Pompe Study

A nurse walks behind a young boy in a wheelchair on a playground. Both are facing and headed to the right of the frame. A large park with grass and trees is visible in the background.

Cayden and his nurse wait in line for a turn to bowl during a field day event at school. (Photo by Keara Engle)

My favorite part of the day was when the kids had a bowling activity. Single bowling pins were set up, and the children lined up in teams to take turns trying to knock down their team’s pin with a bouncy ball. Cayden was in the back of the line with three other kids in front of him. He waited patiently as each of them tried to knock down the pin, but none of them were successful.

Then it was Cayden’s turn. I watched and recorded as his nurse pushed his wheelchair up to the starting line. Cayden threw the ball, and we all watched as it rolled toward the pin. Then, wham! The pin fell over. The entire class cheered and congratulated him. One child even said, “Wow, I never saw a kid in a wheelchair knock down a bowling pin. That was awesome!”

It brought such joy to my heart to see everyone cheer on my child. It’s everything I’d ever hoped for when he started school. I was a bit worried that the other children might ignore him, but thankfully, the opposite’s been true.

I’m glad I got to watch Cayden interact with his friends at school. It brought a few happy tears to my eyes. And I’m grateful that his first field day was a success. I could tell he was happy that I was able to attend, and I’m already imagining what his next field day will be like. I hope it’s the same as this year, if not better!

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.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.