Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vent-Dependent Quadriplegic Bowls a 212 and 14th Game of 200+

Recently at Quad Squad Bowling, I bowled my third highest score to date, a 212, which was my 14th game of 200 or better.  That's not bad, especially considering that I'm paralyzed from my neck down and use a ventilator to breathe.  I share this to show people, especially wheelchair users, what is possible.

If you're wondering how it's possible, the answer is called an IKAN Bowler, which is essentially a fancy bowling ramp that can attach to pretty much any wheelchair.  I'm actually credited with co-inventing the IKAN Bowler, and we got it approved by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) for league and tournament play -- any league or tournament, anywhere -- bowling with and/or against able-bodied bowlers or fellow IKAN Users.  Of course IKAN Users can also bowl just for fun, recreationally, too.

You can download my scoresheet as a PDF file (if you cannot open it, download free Adobe Reader HERE).

My strike ball was working well that day, but I had an unusually difficult time picking up spares (which is to say that I missed quite a few "easy" spares that I usually convert) especially in the first game.  I managed to bowl a turkey (i.e. three consecutive strikes) which helped me to a 161 in my first game, despite having just one spare.

My second game was the 212.  My strike ball continued to work well as I had another turkey and two non-consecutive strikes also.  I did much better with my spare attempts in game two, converting all five, including in the tenth frame.  I was particularly pleased with that spare pickup because had I missed it, I would've had a 202 -- for the third time.

I'll always be thrilled with any game of 200 or better -- and it's fun to bowl even if the scores aren't so high -- but I really wanted a score that I hadn't bowled before.  So picking up the spare in the tenth frame, and following it with 9 pins with the extra ball, that gave me a 212.  I've now had a 200, four 201s, two 202s, a 203, 205, 206, 210, 212, 221 and 223.

My third game was not-so-good, especially compared to what I'd just done.  Not to make excuses, but I had four splits and also missed two single-pin spare attempts.  That resulted in a 136, which I couldn't possibly end on, so I bowled a fourth game -- which could have been my 15th game of 200 or better.

Game four was good -- I actually had four consecutive strikes.  So I was certainly in good position to break 200 again, but in the tenth frame, I started my ball out too wide and it didn't come back into the headpin enough.  That left me with a difficult spare attempt (4-5-7-8; you can see the setup on the scoresheet) which requires perfectly splitting the 4 & 5 pins, and hoping the 7 & 8 will fall also.  I very nearly split the 4 & 5, just barely missing the 5 pin (the ball is just a bit bigger than the space between the two side-by-side pins, but a very accurate shot is required to get both pins).  And so I ended with a 195.

All in all, it was a whole lot of fun.  I thank my fellow bowlers, caddies, and everyone who was cheering me on, and also those who helped make it possible for a vent-dependent quadriplegic to not only go somewhere, but to physically and fairly compete in a sport.

I'm grateful.

All glory to God.

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

IKAN User Profile: Aaron Parker, Florida

Aaron Parker has had a lot of fun learning to bowl and improving his game over the last couple of months.  My new friend and fellow Central Florida Quad Squad Bowler, Aaron's first game IKAN-style was a 101 on September 10th, which is a good first game.  In his second, he had a 124!  Not bad for a person who has been paralyzed as a C7 quadriplegic for the last 30 years.

But Aaron was using a house ball, and the problem with that is every time you go bowling, you have to learn how the borrowed ball is going to curve with the different positions we can set it up in (each ball is different).  So Aaron purchased a used house ball, which I think is quite smart because you can test as many as you want until you find one that works well for you.  And Aaron worked his way up to a high game of 144 -- until our latest Quad Squad outing.

On November 19th, Aaron started out with a 125, then had a 132, and then he got on a roll with a 156 -- a new personal best.  But he wasn't done!  He kept making quality shots and in game four he actually bowled a 179!  His scoresheet is HERE.

What was particularly impressive is that Aaron had only one open frame (a frame without a strike or spare) in his 179 game, and the open frame was a split.  Not only that, but just before Aaron bowled his 179, I bowled a 170, and Aaron needed to pickup his spare in the 10th frame, or he would've finished with a 169 (we Quad Squad Bowlers have a friendly competition for high score when we bowl).  I was happy to see Aaron bowl so well, even though he beat me.

Here are Aaron's profile answers:

Name: Aaron Parker
Age: 56
Location: Umatilla, Florida
Reason for Wheelchair Use: C-7 Quadriplegic
Onset or Injury Date: 7-1-81
Wheelchair Operation Method: Joy Stick
High Bowling Score: 179
Approx Bowling Average: 125
Typical Range of Scores: first 9 weeks: 100-130; last two weeks: 125-179
Bowling Frequency: Once a week
Bowling Ball(s):  Used house ball 15 lbs. 11 oz.
Quote from Aaron: "God has truly blessed us wheelchair users with good enjoyment through Bill and Claude's invention of the IKAN Bowler.  Thanks!"

Thanks Aaron -- keep up the good work!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog:
Business website:
Personal website:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our IKAN Bowler on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition!

My friend, MGT partner, and IKAN Bowler co-inventor Claude Giguere, will help a young adult wheelchair user bowl IKAN-style on the "Keefer Family" episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -- this Friday, October 21, from 8-10 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

Edit: you can watch both parts online at these links: Part 1 and Part 2.

From the show's website: "Keefer Family -- The team helps build a home for the family of a man who quit his job to take care of his paralyzed adult son."

If you're new to my blog, the IKAN ("I can") Bowler is an empowerment device for wheelchair users, even power / electric wheelchair users.  The IKAN Bowler is sanctioned by the USBC for league and tournament play -- bowling with and/or against able-bodied bowlers or fellow IKAN Users.  It's therapeutic, recreational, and a genuine thrill to be able to get a spare or strike for someone who cannot pickup a heavy bowling bowl (i.e. power wheelchair users like me).

We have video on our website, and two sets of pictures from Quad Squad Bowling outings are linked from an earlier blog post.

Essentially ANY wheelchair user CAN BOWL with the IKAN Bowler, regardless of driving method or reason for wheelchair use (SCI, MD, CP, amputee, etc).

See record scores in various categories HERE.

Something you might not realize is there are entities to which tax deductible donations can be made that can help wheelchair users be able to bowl IKAN-style.  Contact my partner Vincent Tifer ( for details.

God bless!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog:
Business website:
Personal website:

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Wheelchair Bowling Record for Females with MD

Peggy Overbey's 179 Is the New Wheelchair Bowling Record for Females who have Muscular Dystrophy

My friend & fellow Central Florida Quad Squad Bowler Peggy Overbey set a new wheelchair bowling record for females with Muscular Dystrophy, bowling a 179 last Saturday.  For her scoresheet, click HERE!

We had four IKAN Users -- two girls and two guys -- at the Quad Squad outing, and Peggy & Lilian decided they wanted it to be girls vs. guys (them vs. Aaron and me). Let's just say it was the girls' day.

Shortly after Peggy's 179, Lilian posted a 185, and since we generally use each person's top score of the afternoon for comparison, Aaron and I were in trouble. In Aaron's defense, it was just his second Quad Squad outing bowling IKAN-style. But I had difficulty putting together a particularly good game too. No worries. Congratulations to the ladies -- they bowled very well!

The unusual thing about Peggy's record game, is that she had a very impressive six strikes (including a turkey to start her game and a double later) but no spares. That's unusual because Peggy is typically very good at picking up spares, especially when she's got her "A game." That goes to show the power of consecutive strikes -- they help you accumulate points quickly.

For Peggy's previous best, click HERE.

Keep up the good work Peggy!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog:
Business website:
Personal website:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Wheelchair Bowling Records for a Female Overall, a Female with CP, and a Female Driving by Joystick

Lilian Strandlund Enters 200 Club with a 215 -- Setting Multiple Records

At our recent central Florida Quad Squad Bowling outing, my friend Lilian Strandlund smashed her personal bowling best of 189 with a whopping... 215!

In doing so, Lilian also reset her and the records for a female overall, a female with cerebral palsy, and a female driving by joystick. These are legitimate world records in these categories of wheelchair bowling because she bowled them in dynamic fashion with an IKAN Bowler, which is sanctioned by the USBC when used dynamically (for details, click HERE).

For more about Lilian, her game, her scoresheet, and a picture of her fantastic smile after her record game -- click HERE!


Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quad Squad Bowling Photos 2011-07-10

We had five IKAN Users, myself included, at Quad Squad Bowling on July 10th.  Youth Group members from First Baptist Church of Umatilla caddied for us.

You can view the photos on Facebook HERE (a Facebook account is not required).

For details about Quad Squad Bowling and photos from an earlier outing, click HERE.

Thank you to everyone who helped make it fun & memorable -- and God bless!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Disability Doesn't Stop This Valedictorian

I'm inspired by, humbled, and honored to know Audrey Winkelsas.  We met when she became an IKAN User -- and she recently graduated from high school as her class VALEDICTORIAN -- despite the additional challenges of having Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and using a power wheelchair since the age of two.  Audrey also bowled on her high school team, using the IKAN Bowler that belonged to our late Quad Squad buddy Alex McDonald (click HERE for my 2009 year in review which mentions some of Alex's achievements and his unexpected passing).

After Alex's sudden passing, his parents wanted to find another high school student with Muscular Dystrophy (SMA is a form of MD) to whom they could donate Alex's Bowler, and Audrey was a gracious recipient.  In the below article, Audrey & her family wanted Alex & his family mentioned, but the reporter didn't, so I'm mentioning it now.  Nonetheless, it's a great article, and was originally posted HERE.

If that link expires, you can download a PDF version HERE.

Despite living relatively far away, Audrey has joined us for Quad Squad Bowling multiple times, and as you can read at the above links, she's a phenomenal young woman.

And her story of achievement despite disability needs to be shared.


Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog:
Business website:
Personal website:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A New Record and the Real Meaning of Handicap Zero

Bill Miller's 223 and 12th 200 Game -- and 564 Series

At Quad Squad Bowling recently, I bowled my top score ever -- a 223 -- and my second best series of three games -- a 564.  Did you know that I'm paralyzed from my neck down and ventilator dependent?  And my that score is a legitimate world record for wheelchair users who drive via sip-and-puff?

All the above is true, and if you want to know more about how, why and/or to see pictures, checkout the below details and this blog entry about Quad Squad Bowling in general: click HERE!

Below I describe the record outing -- and keep reading for the real meaning of "Handicap Zero!"

My scoresheet (and this full story) is HERE.

Click HERE for the direct link to the scoresheet.

We had A LOT OF FUN at our recent central Florida Quad Squad Bowling outing. We had four power wheelchair bowlers / IKAN Users: Peggy, Lilian, Rhonda, and me; five volunteer caddies to help us: Linda, Nancy, Pat, June, and Marguerite -- and additional family, friends, and caregivers too -- a big crowd! And I almost missed the fun because the weather was so bad on our drive over that we stopped for a while and nearly decided to head home.

Anyway, after our weather delay, I was late starting, and Peggy wound up completing her second game and posting a 157 just as I was finishing my first game. A 157 is a solid start to the $20 "Quad Squad Challenge" (my Dad offers $20 to any IKAN User who can beat my top score of the day, which he says is for "ego" control, and I say is for fun and livelier competition:). Some days 157 will be the top score. Not this day.

The real fun started when my beloved caregiver / Aunt Jackie saw me needing to finish strong (with a spare and a good count in the 10th) after I bowled my first ball of the 10th frame. Jackie said loudly, "Hey Peggy, sit up (she was tilting back in her chair) and watch a grown man choke!!!"

Seemingly everyone started laughing at Jackie's comment, partially out of shock! My reply, was "Whose side are you on, anyway?!" It was all in good fun. But maybe that helped me concentrate a bit more on my 1-2-8 spare (the 1-2 are diagonal and close; the 8-pin is a sleeper behind the 2-pin) which I picked up (and looked like I knew what I was doing:). I didn't choke on the last ball either, needing six pins to surpass Peggy's 157 and getting nine to post a 161. And, yes, the crowd, including Jackie, cheered when I didn't choke after Jackie's friendly taunt.

Perhaps all that propelled me to bowl my best game ever in my second game of the day. But it only started out "average" after a spare in the 1st frame and an open frame in the 2nd -- on a nasty 4-10 split, which you can see on the detailed scoresheet HERE.

At the above link, you can see the pin placement for what I had left in the 2nd frame (and all the frames). That shot is possible, but extremely difficult due to the angle at which we must barely clip the left side of the 4-pin in order to get it to cross the lane and hit the 10-pin. My angle wasn't quite good enough, but I did get the 4-pin. Then I followed with two spares, and then a turkey -- three straight strikes! After another spare, I rolled another strike in my 9th frame and said to my caddy, Marguerite, "How about I strike out?"

That's bad in baseball but good in bowling (completing the rest of the game with nothing but strikes). It was partly "wishful thinking" when I said it, but I nearly did it. I rolled two more for another turkey, and had a good chance with my extra ball in the 10th (which appeared to be pretty well placed in the pocket) but my nemesis, the 10-pin, remained standing.

Nonetheless, the result was 223, which topped my previous best of 221 (click HERE for details). To God be the glory.

My goal for bowling, besides enjoying the camaraderie and fun with everyone, is to bowl a 500 series every time out -- which is a 166.7 average over three games. My typical average is about 150, so a 500 series represents some pretty quality bowling (to do so typically requires about 8 marks per game, unless several of the marks are consecutive strikes, which boost one's score much faster than solo strikes or spares).

After the first two games, I had 384 total pins, and thus only needed 116 for a 500 series. After bowling as well as I had, I would've been disappointed if I failed to reach 500 pins. Fortunately, I still had my "A game" for the most part, and posted a 180 for a 564 series -- my second best series ever.

My best series ever was a 570 (169, 206, and 195: click HERE for details). 

My bowling performance that day was slightly better overall because I had fewer strikes in the three games, and thus had to convert more spares. But in both that series and this series, I only missed two non-split spare attempts in my three games. That's why they are my best two bowling performances.

But what is my favorite thing about such bowling performances?

Below my name on the scoresheet, it says "Hdcp 0" i.e. "Handicap ZERO!"

Technically, that means we aren't bowling in a league or tournament and therefore aren't using our averages as something called a bowling "handicap" for the event.

However, I choose to view "Handicap Zero" as the number of limitations on those of us who bowl with an IKAN Bowler via our wheelchairs, which are necessary due to significant physical disabilities.  Despite such physical disabilities, the IKAN Bowler gives us a fair "playing field" on which to compete (so says the United States Bowling Congress -- and users like little ol' me:).

"Handicap Zero" is also a mindset I choose to use in approaching life. Sure, I'm currently a quadriplegic and thus must do some things differently and require assistance for others, but I can still accomplish much -- WE ALL CAN -- in this game called life -- if we keep a positive mindset and think of what we can do and disregard the rest.

Some final notes on this bowling outing: Peggy makes some spare pickups look real easy. Rhonda is trying to find her bowling "groove" again after not being able to bowl for several months. And Lilian is trying to find her left-handed bowling groove (she recently switched from righty-style to lefty-style for strike attempts). But we all had fun, and Rhonda put the exclamation point on the day as she was the last bowler to finish and did so with a strike in her 10th frame to the sound of many cheers.

Thanks for reading -- and God bless!!!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 223 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quad Squad Bowling

Our "Quad Squad" is a group of mostly power wheelchair users who get together in Central Florida and bowl (usually twice a month) using the IKAN Bowler.  (The IKAN Bowler is an empowerment device that attaches to the front of almost any wheelchair -- it's fun, therapeutic, and legit:

We usually have between 3-5 IKAN Users bowling, and have had eight at one time.  Since we bowl regularly, a non-profit organization called LovExtension ( provides caddy help for us bowlers, which gives our caregivers a chance to relax and cheer us on.

See pictures of a Quad Squad outing for free on Facebook or Shutterfly (no account required to view them from either entity).

Here are record scores for various categories of wheelchair users:

The name "Quad Squad" isn't trademarked or anything, and anyone reading this could start their own Quad Squad group in their area.  No worries.

We typically bowl twice a month: on the 2nd Saturday of each month at Classique Lanes in Tavares, and on the 4th Saturday of each month at Spanish Springs Lanes in The Villages (addresses below).  We bowl from roughly 4-6 p.m. 

When it's bowling week, I send an email to my Quad Squad Bowling list (I'll add anyone who wants on) to remind and affirm when and where we plan to bowl (I occasionally share additional items I believe are noteworthy also).

Most importantly, Quad Squad Bowling is a WHOLE LOT OF FUN! :-)

If you'd like to join us sometime, contact me via my website (  We usually have an IKAN Bowler available for someone to borrow!

Here are the addresses for where we usually bowl:

CLASSIQUE LANES (Bowling Center)
15026 Classique Lane
Tavares, FL 32778

997 Alverez Avenue
Lady Lake, FL 32159 (Lady Lake/The Villages)

Thanks for your interest and God bless!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 221 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Civitan Clubs Use IKAN Bowler to Help People with Disabilities

The Mission Statement for Civitan International is:

"To build good citizenship by providing a volunteer organization of clubs dedicated to serving individual and community needs with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities."

Civitan members in Louisiana were excited to learn about the IKAN Bowler and how it can empower wheelchair users (click HERE for how).  They have purchased three IKAN Bowlers for use by people in their communities.  They also invited our company (Manufacturing Genuine Thrills, Inc. a.k.a. MGT) to attend the International Civitan Convention in New Orleans in July to help spread awareness about our IKAN Bowler, which we are planning to do.

Civitan Clubs exist in many communities throughout the U.S. and World.  If you're interested in seeing if your local Civitan Club will help empower wheelchair users in your community with the IKAN Bowler, email my MGT co-founding partner Vincent Tifer at for whom to contact.

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 221 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Results of My Surgeries: Healthy but No DPS

For more on my surgeries, see this this blog entry.

Ultimately our trip for my surgeries was successful, though not as successful as hoped.

The primary successes from my surgeries were: replacing my cardiac pacemaker, getting x-rays of my chest and neck (that I was given to view on CD) and having actual outpatient surgery for my procedures (no overnight stay required, which limited my chances for infection; I just had my three-weeks post-surgery follow-up appointments, and I've healed well with no infections -- thank you God!).

Missing from that success list is implementation of the Diaphragm Pacing System (DPS).  Even when inside my chest, with the electrodes placed on my diaphragm, my diaphragm wouldn't fire when stimulated by the DPS.  My surgeon, Dr. Michael Cheatham, tried everything -- even calling DPS inventor Dr. Raymond Onders (who trained Dr. Cheatham to do the DPS) for additional suggestions.  It wasn't meant to be.

No worries.

Though I could have received several benefits from the DPS, I stand by my statement that I already have a high quality of life and I'm not limited by the vent in the most important ways: speech quality and infections.

For a quadriplegic like me, my ability to talk well is of extreme importance.  And if you've heard me talk in person or via phone, I think you'll agree that I speak well and typically clearly, at an appropriate volume (when well hydrated) and with little pause between breaths (thanks to a speaking valve, and due to the ability to initiate another breath sooner than programmed and also receiving fairly large breaths).  With the DPS, I was concerned about matching that quality because breaths cannot be initiated with the DPS and the size of breath is smaller than what I receive via vent (quite possibly 30% smaller for me).  That could have been mitigated by increasing my breath rate on the DPS, but only doing it could answer that question.

Also, my lack of significant respiratory infections for a vent user is fairly uncommon, and is represented by zero respiratory-related hospitalizations in the 13.5 years since I was discharged from my initial hospitalizations and rehab (knock on wood and thank you God).  I'm certainly not saying that my number of infections would have increased on the DPS (it could have, because I'm breathing through 3 filters on the vent, and would have one filter at most on the DPS) but it's hard to beat zero in 13.5 years.

I'm not trying to disparage the DPS; I have two friends in particular who are benefiting significantly from the DPS, and I wanted to try it and potentially benefit from it.  But I don't want anyone reading this to think that life with a ventilator is a necessarily bad.

If my diaphragm would have fired when stimulated by the DPS, I would've continued to embrace the challenge of becoming a successful DPS user.  But that is/was a very significant challenge (especially when considering everything altogether) that included learning and teaching my caregivers different ways of providing for my needs (for example, it would've placed a port on my stomach where the DPS connected that would've required care, and careful bathing around, etc).  Point being, I think that we (as a team) are already good at life with a ventilator, and largely see it as not that big of a deal.

If interested, I could expand on a lot of these points and others.

No worries and God bless!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 221 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
My blog:
Business website:
Personal website:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finally a Surgery Date!

Barring something unfortunate, I should have my two outpatient surgeries on February 2nd, 2011, at Orlando Regional Medical Center.  In one trip to the operating room (for me) I'll have my cardiac pacemaker replaced and also the Diaphragm Pacing System (DPS) installed.

For more on my DPS pursuit and surgeries, see this blog entry:

I plan to write a comprehensive post-surgery evaluation of the DPS and my experiences probably in late March, after I've had some adjustment time.

Thanks and God bless!

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 221 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: