2020 Nimitz graduate Adam Salinas picked up a bat when he was 4 years old, and he hasn’t stopped swinging since. 

Life threw him a curveball when back pain he began experiencing his sophomore year of high school resulted in a cancer diagnosis – stage 4 neuroblastoma. 

“Working as an athletic trainer, we typically deal with muscular, skeletal injuries and things of that nature. So finding out that Adam had cancer – not only cancer, but stage 4 neuroblastoma – was a whole new ball game for us,” says Nimitz Head Athletic Trainer Cassie Shoultz. “It was certainly a shock to all of our Nimitz family and community. It’s just not something we anticipate in our young athletes.”

But with grit and tenacity, Salinas knocked the challenge out of the park, 

Salinas underwent 24 rounds of chemo, two back-to-back bone marrow transplants, 12 rounds of amino therapy and several other surgeries over the course of two-and-a-half years.

“Adam didn’t just beat cancer, stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer. He came back and was able to succeed and finish school. Impressively, he caught up academically and was able to graduate with his class on time,” says Shoultz.

“After going through all of that, it made me see all these kids saying, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to go to school.’ I’d be like, ‘At least I’d get to go to school. I’m having to sit here in this bed to get medicine pumped through me.’ It made me appreciate little things a whole lot more. It put a different value on a lot of things,” says Salinas. “Being able to beat cancer and being able to return to baseball and being able to graduate – I couldn’t be more thankful.”

For his dedication and determination, Salinas was awarded the Ben Hogan Award of Perseverance, earning him a scholarship for college and a grant for Nimitz High School. The award recognizes high school and college students who have overcome adversity or injury to return and excel in their respective sport. 

Watch Salinas’s story and learn more about the award and its namesake in this video