Adam R. Barnhart Inclusive Athlete Fund Created
This month, the Adam R. Barnhart Inclusive Athlete Fund was created by family members here at the Community Foundation. Its mission is to provide support and opportunities to individuals with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) who live in Washington County, Maryland and who seek to participate in inclusive, competitive athletics.
There’s a strong movement whereby athletes with IDD are included, respected, and equal to able-bodied athletes and it’s the vision of this fund to support that.
Born in 1995, Adam R. Barnhart grew up in Washington County, Maryland, with two brothers, Michael and Andrew. At the age of 3, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and a developmental disability. Leg braces and wheelchairs quickly became a familiar and necessary part of his life. Machines to assist with breathing stood by his bed and eventually his body gave way to a deteriorating muscular system. He passed away at the age of 25 last year.
“With his teammates and his coaches, the unified athlete experience created the space and place for Adam and other disabled athletes to be out of the stands and in the game. This fund in Adam’s memory will act as a catalyst for building more bonds between abled and disabled individuals in non-segregated athletic activities,” says his proud mother JoEllen Barnhart, Ph.D.
From an early age, Adam loved sports. He participated in Challenge League bowling and baseball. From his wheelchair, Adam summoned his fragile muscles to throw a baseball with accuracy across home plate. A fan of professional and collegiate baseball, he dreamed, learned and cheered like all adoring fans.
“Adam was a staple in the Special Olympics Unified Sports during his high school career and quietly relished in the pride that being a part of team gave him. During his wheelchair runs on the Unified Track 4 x 100 relay team, Adam, enjoyed driving his chair as fast as possible. To him, it felt like running and he loved to feel the wind in his face. The connections to his Unified Sports track and bocce team mates at North Hagerstown High contained a bond connected by comradery, joy, and bravery in the experience,” Barnhart shares.
To make a contribution to this fund, click “DONATE NOW” at the top of our homepage, then specifying (or selecting from the drop down menu) the Adam R. Barnhart Inclusive Athlete Fund. Checks with the fund name written in the memo section may also be mailed to:
Community Foundation of Washington County MD, Inc.
37 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, MD 21740