At 17, Adam lost his leg to bone cancer and his dream of becoming a professional footballer appeared to be over. However his experience led him to pursue a new interest – basketball. In 2016, Adam represented Australia at the Rio Paralympics.
Diagnosis and treatment
Half way through Year 12, Adam fell down some stairs and broke his leg. He had surgery the next day and a biopsy revealed he had a cancerous tumour in his left femur. He was told he would need chemotherapy and his leg would have to be amputated.
Following the surgery, Adam refused to let the challenges of his cancer stop him from doing what a normal teenager would do. He went to school when he felt up to it, he took his Year 12 exams, he went to his high school graduation and got his driver’s licence.
Adam says no matter what happens in life you have to make the most of it.
“That would be my advice, just because you have cancer, or may have had cancer, or for me, you’ve lost a leg and gone through some tough times, doesn’t mean you’re a different person now, you’re still you and you should still strive to achieve your goals no matter what you’ve gone through.”
When Adam recovered from his treatment, he pursued a new-found interest in basketball. He debuted for the Perth Wheelcats in 2009 and less than a year later was selected to represent Australia at the IWBF Under-23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Paris.
Dare to Dream scholarship
Adam was determined to take his new skill as far as could, but the cost of a custom sports wheelchair was more than he could cover. In 2010, he applied for a Redkite Dare to Dream Scholarship and won.
“I remember being a recipient of the Dare to Dream scholarship and the money I was given was put towards a new sports wheelchair. That was my first custom-made wheelchair,” he says.
“My dream was to represent Australia at the Paralympics – that has now become a reality. Winning a scholarship makes you feel like there are people who believe in you and are backing you to reach your goals.”
“It’s so important to never give up on your dreams. I would encourage anyone who is fighting cancer, or who has survived it, to apply for a Dare to Dream Scholarship.”
Adam says as well as presenting challenges, having his leg amputated has also given him opportunities.
“I am now playing professional wheelchair basketball for Australia,” he says. “In saying this, my greatest achievement is, and always will be, being a cancer survivor.”
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