Philosopher Adam Hayden speaks at Philosophy Club


Elizabeth Valadez

Philosophy club guest speaker Adam Hayden tells his story to club members on Sept. 4.

Adam Hayden is a philosopher, an author, a husband, a dad to three boys and a best friend to English teacher and Philosophy Club sponsor Sam Hanley. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Hayden was the guest speaker at SHS’s Philosophy Club meeting, in hopes of affecting people through his story and philosophical ideas.

In late 2014, Hayden started experiencing episodes of dizziness, which would be followed by feeling pins and needles on the left side of his body. Over the course of 15 months, these episodes occurred more frequently and were more severe each time, sometimes to the point of not being able to hold himself up. In June of 2016, he finally received a diagnosis of one of the most aggressive brain cancers: Glioblastoma.

As one of Hanley’s best friends, Hanley says he and Hayden have been extremely close for a very long time, but these last two years have shown Hanley how strong his friend is. Hanley thinks that his strength has shown through his ability to still lecture, write, be a board member, organize fundraisers and put scholarships together.

“I think his work is incredible,” Hanley said. “Where some people might be defeatists, he has said ‘I’m going to embrace this thing and use it as a positive thing as much as I can.’”

Hanley says that before Hayden’s diagnosis, he knew nothing about Glioblastoma. But Hayden has explained the disease very well to his friends, which has led them to becoming advocates and just having a greater awareness.

While listening to Hayden’s speech, senior and Philosophy Club member Abigail Dunn found many parallels between her experience and his, as her mom passed away from cancer in 2014, around the time Hayden was diagnosed. Dunn remembers the time her mom sat her and her siblings down to tell them she had cancer, just as Hayden said he had tried to explain to his sons.

From Hayden’s story, Dunn thinks that others can have the take away that no matter what life throws at someone, they can always get something out of it and find positivity in the worst of situations. She also advises that students should try Philosophy Club because students can gain experiences like this one, meet interesting people, hear their thoughts and opinions and get a different outlook on the world.

“I thought it was really cool to see how his life experiences really affected the way he sees the world,” Dunn said. “And how he got so many positive things out of it, even though it was a really tragic thing.”

Life expectancy for those with Glioblastoma is around 15-18 months, but Hayden has already lived two years post-operation. Because his time is expected to be cut short with his children, he wants them to get to know the man he was through the work that he has done, like publishing a book, being an advocate and blogging.

“I’m doing hard work now because I want my kids to discover me through the trail of work that I’ve left,” Hayden said.