Former Nevada pitcher starts nonprofit to help local kids
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A former Wolf Pack pitcher has started a non-profit that removes financial barriers for kids looking to play in youth sports.
“I learned so much from sports,” said Adam Whitt. “And I don’t want money to be a problem for other kids not to play sports, and stay involved in those things.”
The Adam Whitt Foundation just recently donated more than $4,000 worth of new baseball bats to the Carson City Little League, and has also provided scholarships for kids to help pay for travel baseball. Whitt says that’s just the start of what’s in the plans.
“If someone needs help with travel just getting to practice after school, and both their parents are working and they need a bicycle, we can provide that bicycle,” explained Whitt. “We can provide an Uber to drive them to and from practice.”
Baseball has been a big part of Whitt’s life. He played at Carson High School, before walking-on to play at Nevada. He became one of the best closers in Wolf Pack history, setting the school-record with 14 saves during his final season.
“I was just happy to have a uniform; have a number on it,” admitted Whitt. ”It was a dream come true.”
That dream got even bigger, when he was selected in the 16th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
“Boom, you see Houston Astros, Adam Whitt right there,” continued Whitt. “Like I said, it was a dream. It never was really reality all of the way up until that point.”
But his professional career was soon in jeopardy. He felt exhausted after every game, and lost some velocity on his fastball.
“Kind of hovering mid-80s instead of the upper-80s, low-90s I was used to,” explained Whitt. “Something was off, and I just couldn’t quite tell what it was.”
After just two years in the minor leagues, his baseball career was over. He had lost 30 pounds, and developed a blind spot in his eye, caused by blood. Finally his doctor diagnosed the problem.
“He’s like, you have some sort of Leukemia. A cancer; blood cancer,” remembered Whitt. “You need to go up there tonight. You need to pack an overnight bag and go straight to the hospital right now.”
He was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), which is very rare for a 25-year-old. It typically affects people 65 and older.
“I wasn’t even thinking about the next day or the next week anymore. It boiled down simply to, what do I need to do right now, and tell me how to get better,” said Whitt.
He now takes a chemotherapy pill every day and has put back on some weight. He’s also picked up golf to try and fill that competitive drive.
“I started playing in amateur tournaments and finishing in the top ten and finishing in the top 5,” added Whitt.
He is a plus-2 handicap, which means he shoots and average of 2-under par. And he has dreams to compete on the Korn Ferry or PGA Tour someday. But it’s his foundation that keeps him driven.
“Being able to help out where I came from, it’s pretty special for sure,” pointed out Whitt. “And it’s just the beginning.”
There is a fundraiser going on next month at Dayton Valley Golf Club. The Adam Whitt Invitational is on July 23rd. Tickets are $150 per person or $500 per foursome, with all of the proceeds going to support its mission of giving kids access to sports.
You can get more information about the Adam Whitt Foundation by clicking the link below.
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