Like any other 7-year-old, Camden Sanders interests gravitate toward Hot Wheels cars, Legos and trains.
A good bit of his time, though, is spent swallowing pills -- about 500 a month -- and other medicine that keeps him alive.
Camden has cystinosis, a rare genetic disease that affects just a few hundred people across the country. It causes the amino acid cystine to accumulate in cells and eventually forms crystals throughout the body. In time, the cystine damages organs, muscles and the central nervous system. The kidney and eyes are often the first targets.
It attacks every cell in his body, said his father, John.
The disease takes its toll in other ways. Camden is about the size of a 4-year-old and he tires very easily, his dad said.
The disease strikes adults too, not just children.
Just because you dont have it now doesnt mean you cant get it, Sanders said.
Friends and family are rallying around the Sanders family. Theres a fundraiser Saturday night to help raise money -- and awareness about the disease.
The Akins, a country gospel group, will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Gray United Methodist Church, located at 117 Jefferson Lane in Gray. Camden is a big fan of the groups lead guitarist, his dad said. Tickets at the door are $7 apiece or $10 for 2. There will also be a silent auction, and Mark the Magic Man also will perform.
For more information about Camden, go to www.helpcamdenfindacure.com.