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Thursday, July 12, 2012 | |  Cardiomyopathy in the News

Friends, family and classmates gather at Kaiser Elementary School on Friday for a memorial honoring the life of Myles Thames, a third-grader who died last week.

A 9-year-old boy who died while playing basketball last week was remembered for his smile and energetic personality at a memorial service Friday in Costa Mesa.

Myles "Smiles" Thames attended Kaiser Elementary School, where Friday's memorial took place. While at a Boys & Girls Club on June 14, the third-grader died after suffering cardiac arrest due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — a thickening of the heart that makes it more difficult to pump blood.

"It's a beautiful day for a beautiful celebration of a beautiful life," said Isaure Blandin, Myles' aunt, whom he often referred to as "Auntie Pookie."

The ceremony included a performance of "Amazing Grace," as well as a prayer led by Pastor Mike Jonkers of the Harvest Christian Fellowship of Orange County.

"There is no 'Myles was,'" Jonkers said, "because Myles is alive and well in Heaven today."

Throughout the service, Myles' presence could be felt as family and friends shared fond memories of him.

Sherrilynne Dangl, Myles' teacher, presented some of the things her class said about him.

"He was a good friend," the classmates wrote on a poster with a drawing of Myles. "He was a nice kid in class and was also a really good basketball player. He encouraged me to do things better, and I'll always miss him and love him."

Blandin remembered Myles as a "special young man who grabbed your heart."

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