Adam Zibluk is a 15-year-old Life Scout in Troop 70 in Newtown, CT. He was also recently the Troop’s Senior Patrol Leader which is the highest ranking boy in the troop!
And last summer, he, along with 15 other boys from the Troop completed scouting’s ultimate adventure, backpacking over 50 miles in 7 days in the wilderness at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico!
While Adam’s Scouting achievements are impressive on their own, his time in Scouts has not always been so easy. You see, Adam has Hemophilia, a medical condition that can cause severe bleeding from even a slight injury. And when you are a Boy Scout, spending much time out in the wilderness, it is quite common to get minor injuries, whether cuts, scrapes or strained muscles.
Because of his condition, Adam has had to miss some Scouting activities over the years. But this did not deter from rising to a Life Scout and to heading into the wilds of New Mexico. And Philmont is not just any wilderness. It is at an elevation often above 8,000 feet where it is harder to breathe. The terrain is often steep, rocky and rough.
And the boys must carry everything with them including clothes, food, water and other camping gear. This often adds up to over a 45-pound backpack! And they must carry this for 7 days or more, up and down big, wild, mountains! For the healthiest and fittest Scouts, Philmont is still a major challenge.
The first few days of Adam’s backpacking in Philmont went smooth. But on the 3rd day, while unloading his gear at a remote campsite, he felt a twinge in his back. Injuries like this can cause internal bleeding that do not stop without medical attention, sometimes in a hospital. It was getting dark and rain threatened.
Adam told the adult leaders about his back and that he was starting to not feel well. They made the decision to call Philmont base camp to seek medical attention. Two doctors set out into the night on backcountry roads and then hiked in the last 1/2 mile to find Adam. They did some tests and decided to take him back with them to base camp.
It was a tough moment for Adam and for the rest of the scout crew. While Adam returned to basecamp, the rest of the boys backpacked on. They took a shirt of Adam’s with them and took photos of it along the way which they sent to him.
A few days passed and Adam was feeling better. The doctors cleared him to return to the backcountry! And on the 5th day of the trip, Adam was brought back out into the wilderness to meet back up with his crew!
Adam hiked, camped and even rode a horse on the last few days on the trail, also making the climb up the “Tooth of Time” one of Philmont’s most famous natural wonders. Adam finished the trek with his crew without any more complications. He is now one of the only Boy Scouts with Hemophilia to ever participate and complete a Philmont Trek.
What encouraged Adam to take on this challenge despite the risk? “I thought it would be fun and a good thing to do as long as I was prepared. And my parents have always encouraged me to not let Hemophilia be the only factor in ANY decision.”
And Adam’s advice for those who may be fearful of trying something new or hard: “People should do what they want to do in life while making sure to have a good support system in place (e.g. family and friends) to help them if it becomes necessary. But, don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back.”
Adam’s story is one of courage and perseverance that has lessons in it for all of us.
Here is a video that will help you learn more about hemophilia:
Here is a story about another inspiring boy who living a very active life despite his Hemophilia:
And here is a video that shows the majesty of Philmont Scout Ranch:
- Visit kidshealth.org to learn more about Hemophilia
- Here is a link to Philmont Scout Ranch
- Check out more IMK stories about inspiring people who are thriving despite their medical conditions
- Find other IMK quotes and stories related to courage
Topics for Discussion:
- What is Hemophilia? How does it affect a person?
- What challenges did Adam face? What character traits did he exhibit? Would you have tried to do what Adam did at Philmont? Why or why not?
- What are your greatest strengths? Focus on your strengths, and they will help you to overcome your weaknesses.
- Visit Hemophilia.org to learn about ways you can help and support people with Hemophila
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.
This video talks about what its like to be a friend of someone with hemophilia:
And here is a story about what its like to grow up and live with hemophilia: