Boy Alec Cabacungan, 11, not letting 'brittle bone disease' slow him down

Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily.
January 19, 2014 6:53:32 AM PST
Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily.

It's often called 'brittle bone disease' and can limit people's physical activities -- but not for a sixth- grader who loves playing basketball.

Since he was born, 11-year-old Alec Cabacungan has broken more than 50 bones. Despite physical challenges, he keeps moving forward.

"I play hard. I play my hardest every time I play," he said.

At Brooks Middle School in Oak Park, Alec practices with his adapted PE teacher Tim McDonald.

"Basketball is my favorite sport because it's a high-pace game. You have fun. There's not a lot of stops," said Alec. "But I know when to slow it down a little bit because in the past, I have gotten hurt. It has led me to miss a couple of games, and I regret that."

Alec's parents always encourage him to do whatever he can.

"As parents, we were very worried and concerned with his athletic endeavors that he would break bones, but over time, we nurtured him and felt that he needed to pursue his own dreams and that we allowed him to expand his lifestyle and his playing abilities," father Gil.

Language arts teacher Antoinette Cofield says Alec is a good student and always positive.

"He's kind of what I would like to describe as the dog's bow wow and the cat's meow, if you will. I mean he's always in a good mood, always, every time you see him," said Antoinette.

As for dealing with his disability, Alec has learned to accept it.

"In the past, I have been sad when I say it, but when I say it now I'm happy because know now that I know now that I am healthy and I am strong and there are worse disabilities out there that I don't have and I'm grateful for that," he 11-year-old said. "When i grow up I want to go to the Olympics. I want to be a Paralympican for basketball, and when I'm not training, I want to be an ESPN analyst. I want to be an anchor in Los Angeles."

For more information about the disability and adaptive go to www.oif.org and www.op97.org/brooks.


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