Growing up, Gaucher’s disease hindered Adam Slone’s ability to play many sports. The disease – caused by a buildup of fatty substances in organs like the spleen and liver – creates a variety of issues like abdominal complaints, weakened bones, blood flow issues, anemia, and more.
A kid with boundless energy, Adam was frustrated by the challenges Gaucher’s (pronounced go-SHAY) disease presented. He wanted to play sports like basketball and soccer like other children, but his weakened bone structure prevented him from playing contact sports. If he took any substantial contact, it could endanger his life.
Adam explored other sport options that were a safer bet for him. Upon being cleared to play by a doctor, tennis opened a door for Adam that remained open for the rest of his life. He poured his heart and soul into tennis.
Spending 3-4 hours a day on the courts, Adam was determined to out-practice everyone. “Tennis taught me that I could do anything I want in life if I worked really hard on it. So that’s what I did,” Adam said. His hard work and determination paid off when he received a scholarship to a Division 1 school.
After school and starting his own business, Adam had a dream of creating a sleepaway tennis camp for disadvantaged children. “I always thought I’d do it in my sixties,” Adam states. But when a friend pressed him and said “why not now,” Adam didn’t have a good response. With that, he started Life Serve Youth Foundation, a sleepaway camp that uses tennis to transform the lives of youth.
And it’s not ALL about tennis. While tennis takes up about 3-4 hours of a camper’s day, that’s just a small amount of time at sleepaway camp. Actives like rock climbing, ziplining, and meditation offer children a rich and varied experience amid the natural beauty of the Berkshires. Adam wanted to share his blessings and his philosophy that with dedication and effort, you can achieve almost anything!
Life Serve Youth Foundation’s camp brings kids together from Boston and New York. Many campers have never left their respective towns, so the camp is a way to enable kids to experience a new place and meet and interact with others from different backgrounds. The camp’s curriculum and location help broaden campers’ worldview and enrich their entire experience. Future goals of Life Serve Youth Foundation include expanding their programs to every major U.S. city.
Adam coached himself into a life many would consider a success. He’s overcome many hurtles and used the lessons from his own dedication and effort to ignite that same spark in under-privileged children.
Learn more about Life Serve Youth Foundation and donate HERE.