NewsInspiring South Florida


Exclusive carousel ride for immunocompromised boy in Palm Beach Gardens

Camden Schwartz on carousel
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 26, 2022

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — There’s plenty to see and do in Downtown Palm Beach Gardens.

Longtime Palm Beach Gardens resident Elyse Schwartz said for her 10-year-old son Camden, riding the downtown carousel is at the top of the list.

“We would pass the carousel everyday,” Schwartz explained, “and he would say 'Mom, I want to be the first to ride the carousel when it’s done.'”

If you couldn’t tell, Cam has more than enough merry to go around - despite some serious challenges.

"Cam’s very medically fragile,” Schwartz said. “He has half a heart so there’s no cure for his condition, he just lives with anatomy of half a heart.”

On top of that he’s diabetic, asthmatic and immunocompromised. In his eyes though, none are those factors are holding him back from being a kid.

According to Schwartz, “Camden is just pure joy. He is so resilient. He’s been through more than most people have in several lifetimes.”

Schwartz said with Cam’s compromised immune system in the midst of a pandemic the only way an exclusive ride would be possible is with help.

And Downtown Palm Beach Gardens was more than happy to oblige.

Regional Marketing Manager for Downtown Palm Gardens, Alexis Brock, said, “We want everybody to be accommodated and really truly enjoy themselves. There’s been so many wonderful memories made by families at this carousel and we want to make sure that includes everybody.”

On the surface, the carousel tells a story… flashing lights, music, and bright paint highlighting South Florida’s history and wildlife.

But if you look a little harder there’s a deeper story.

“The people of this city and their generosity and kindness and compassion,” said Schwartz.

It’s evident in the smile behind the mask of a kid with almost all the odds against him… yet still coming out on top on whatever he wants.

“He goes through a lot,” Schwartz said, “but to him it’s just another day in his life. He works so much harder than most kids, most people but he is one the happiest kids you’ll ever meet. He’s just so joyful.”

He has half a heart, but one full of so much joy.

Carousel Care hours roll out mid-February according to Downtown Palm Beach Gardens. They’re rides for people with special accommodations like lower music volume and rider capacity.