Picture a United States Navy SEAL. What did you just imagine? You probably imagined someone whom you would really want to have on your side in a fight. Now picture a kid with cancer.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could team that SEAL up with that kid to help her through the fight for her young life? Well, that is exactly what Mid-Career MPA candidate Adam La Reau, a former Navy SEAL himself, is about to do with a group he has founded called One Summit.
Adam’s vision for One Summit began while he was simultaneously serving as a SEAL team leader and volunteering at cancer non-profits. It wasn’t hard for him to think of a way to put the two halves of his life together. Adam knew his SEAL teammates were used to tough fights defending America, and he knew that for a young person, cancer is a lonely struggle against a terrible disease. Adam soon recognized that a SEAL’s ingrained skills needed in fights for America can help kids fight cancer.
On a recent morning at the Kennedy School, Adam shared the core of the One Summit philosophy. Put simply, One Summit is about kids. To fight cancer they need resilience, courage, patience, tenacity, and more inner strength than most of us can imagine. They will also need friends – the sort of friends who help someone get up after they’ve been kicked down. One Summit is Adam’s way to give these special children all of those things, and bring what he calls “like-minded warriors” together.
For One Summit’s first event ever, Adam has chosen a select group of his fellow SEALs as mentors who will soon be matched on various traits with children fighting cancer here in Boston.
The event, called “Climb For Courage”, will take place on March 29th at Central Rock Gym, in Watertown. Through the kind participation of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and the Travis Manion Foundation, Adam and One Summit will “help children with cancer build courage and self-confidence” as “a foundation for resilience as they battle their disease”. Each SEAL mentor will spend the day building “a long-lasting relationship” with their child as they work together to literally climb their way to success. In addition to indoor climbing in “a controlled and safe environment”, climbing instruction, and an afternoon of “conquering adversity”, each child will receive photos of the day and customized dog tags engraved with the child’s name and “Never Give Up”. All costs are to be covered by One Summit and its partner organizations.
Plans for future One Summit events are in the works, including the long-term goal of going to scale and incorporating remarkable former military men and women from all the U.S. Armed Forces.
When Adam began speaking to fellow combat-tested veterans, the response was instantaneous. Present and former SEALs, members of elite military units, and other men and women in uniform from all over the country answered the call to help kids with cancer. Cancer foundations and similar groups are interested, too. Adam has been asked to put on One Summit events across America. Now he hopes to scale One Summit into a program that encourages military veterans to continue serving others after departing the military. Adam’s own experience working with kids fighting cancer before his One Summit days showed him that a mentor “will learn just as much from the kids as the kids do from the mentor”. He fully expects every participating veteran to have a similar experience at One Summit events.
Turns out, Navy SEALs have big hearts. If you have a heart as big as a Navy SEAL’s, you can help One Summit make the “Climb For Courage” a complete success. Visit One Summit on Facebook or at www.onesummit.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate today.