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The origin of A Shot For Life

The origin of A Shot For Life was in 2010 when CEO Mike Slonina’s mother, Betsy Cullen, was falsely diagnosed with a Brain Tumor that was thought to be malignant and could possibly be cancerous. Betsy had no idea how to tell Mike the news and withheld it from him for a few months trying to figure out the best way to deliver it. On a Spring day she sat him down on the couch and pulled out a white piece of paper. She proceeded to draw a small dark dot in the middle of the paper and she said that during a recent scan the doctors had found something. She told Mike that she had a brain tumor and that she didn’t know what could happen.

“The thought that my Mom might not get to see me really grow into a man was too much for me to handle for a while. Basketball is my life and I leaned on it in that time more than ever.”

Basketball had always been a safe haven for Mike and this situation was no exception.¬†“The thought that my Mom might not get to see me really grow into a man was too much for me to handle for a while. Basketball is my life and I leaned on it in that time more than ever.”¬†Slonina said in an interview with AShotForLife.org. “It was really hard to comprehend at first. How do you face the reality that your Mom won’t be around? It was horrible, worst feeling of my life without question.”

On April 9th, 2011 as the first event in A Shot For Life’s history, CEO Mike Slonina became the first and only person ever to shoot a basketball for 24 consecutive hours from all over the basketball floor. Mike Slonina is a recognized World Record Holder on RecordSetter.com.

Mike set out for the 24 hours with a nerve damaged ankle. In the second hour he cut his middle finger on his shooting hand, and in the fourth hour he tore his shooting wrist. In total Mike shot 73.2% from all over the floor with a majority of shots taken from the mid-range and three point area. In a way, the 24-hour saga was an excellent indicator of the road Mike’s life took to get to that point. After initially injuring his left ankle in 2005, it was always one step forwards and two steps back for him.

Life had dealt Mike blow after blow for years. The debilitating ankle injury that cost Mike his basketball career caused off the court problems throughout his early and mid-teen life. The biggest blow of all would come at age 17 upon the diagnosis that his mother may have a malignant brain tumor. These 24 hours played out as a basketball version of Mike’s life story to that point. Despite the fact that beyond hour four Slonina could not bend his wrist, something mandatory for shooting a basketball, his confidence and determination never wavered.

On April 10th, 2011; standing in the middle of his self-proclaimed sanctuary, the Catholic Memorial High School gym, Slonina had made history.

There have been extraordinary individuals who have shot free throws over a 24-hour span; there have been people who have taken three pointers over a 24-hour span. But none of those people moved around the floor thus forcing their jump shot to adapt constantly. For a shooter, especially an elite shooter, getting a rhythm and making shots from one spot is exponentially easier than making shots from all around the floor and from many different distances.

Mike wanted to prove a point in April 2011 by making the shooting as difficult as possible for himself and he did, however, the cost was that his record would be unobtainable and therefore unable to be recognized on some world record databases. No one has ever accomplished what Mike accomplished that day, and given the circumstances he endured, no one ever will.

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All money that is donated from A Shot For Life, Inc. goes directly towards cancer research. From one penny to one thousand dollars, every donation truly does count. Many people believe that since they are not in a position to donate large sums of money then it’s not worth it. It is, every little bit adds up.

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