How My Cousin With Spinal Muscular Atrophy Bowls a Strike


When I asked my cousin, Alex, what he’s doing for his birthday, I was taken aback to hear “a bowling party.” Alex has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and although we’ve swam together and taken a stroll (him on wheels), I can’t say we’ve ever bowled together. 

My Aunt Diane then informed me, not only has Alex been bowling before, but he bowled a strike the first time he did. This was all thanks to their good friend Rob, a brilliant engineer, who, on his downtime, made what I think is a pretty cool invention.

I was so intrigued by the sound of it that I asked my aunt to send me over pictures. Check them out.

Alex before bowling

Alex vertical 1

Alex Bowls 1

Cool, right? 

Bowling alley

Bowling Alley 2

I’ve been making a big deal out of this thing, and recently thought 12-year-old Alex may already be bored of it, since he failed to tell me he’d bowled a strike in the first place. Nope — my aunt and I were chatting, and she said Alex loves bowling, and they would probably do it every week if he had the time.

New tools and technology pop up every day, broadening the limits we’ve previously expected out of certain diseases and disabilities. I was reminded of this as the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles, seeing inventions I’d never heard about. It doesn’t have to be something fancy. Maybe you’ll find it in a store or online or through a doctor’s recommendation. Or maybe, you will have a nice friend who creates something in his spare time just so you can enjoy a new weekly hobby. 

What cool inventions have you learned about? 

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