Scoutmaster's Minute

A Boy Scout Troop meeting tradition is for the Scoutmaster to leave with the Scouts a thought for the week-impressing upon them the fact that they are Scouts and therefore are expected to live as Scouts.

The following acticle, found in the Orange County Register on 3/21/05, was discussed by Scoutmaster Tom Gebelin at the close of the meeting of that day.

Tom urged the Scouts to consider the difficulty that this young man faced in achieving the rank of Eagle Scout (and continues to face in his life), in comparison to their typically lesser obstacles.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Holding to hope for the future
Teen diagnosed with brain cancer celebrates Eagle Scout honor.

The Orange County Register


  GARDEN GROVE – Scott Ross carefully straightens out his neckerchief, drapes a sash emblazoned with merit badges over his shoulder, and pulls a red and green hat over his head.

The soft-spoken Bolsa Grande High School sophomore said his Boy Scout uniform suits him much better than old hospital gowns and clear plastic tubes sticking out of his arms and pumping medication into his veins.

Ross, who survived two bouts of cancer and a bone- marrow transplant, celebrated his Eagle Court of Honor ceremony Saturday in Los Alamitos in front 250 family members, friends and peers.

"It's just an honor," Scott said "Only 4 percent of all Scouts make it, and I wanted to be a part of that 4 percent."

But the celebration is bittersweet.

Scott was diagnosed with brain cancer in January and spent the last several weeks in the hospital. At one point Scott's mother Joan said the family was considering holding the ceremony at the Long Beach Memorial Hospital Children's Oncology Ward.

Believing in miracles

"It's been absolutely devastating," Joan Ross said. "We're praying for a miracle right now."

Scott consoled his mother, reaching over the family's kitchen table to tenderly place his hand on hershoulder.

"We're going to be fine, Mom," he said. "I believe in miracles."

Scott was born with no apparent health problems. But when he was 23 months old, he began to develop bruising all over his body and bleeding from his nose. Doctors diagnosed him with leukemia. When he was 3, Scott received a bone-marrow transplant. The leukemia returned a year later, and Scott went through three years of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The cancer and treatments were in the rearview mirror, but they left Scott with a weak heart and low lung capacity.

For as long as he can remember, Scott has wanted to be an Eagle Scout. By 1994 he decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Ian, 19, and joined the Cub Scouts.

For the next nine years Scott collected 26 merit badges including ones for learning first aid, communicating with his family and keeping in good physical shape.

"It was a lot of work," he said.

Repaying a debt

For his final project he built a 27-foot wooden fence and storage area for the Long Beach-based nonprofit group Camp Fire USA. The group took Scott and other survivors and children with cancer to local campgrounds.

"I felt like they did so much for me that I had to do something for them," he said.

Things were going fine until Scott began having pounding headaches weeks after the new year. He was rushed to the emergency room, and doctors found an inoperable tumor in his brain. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

"It never stops," Scott said, with a sigh.

Scott admits the diagnosis can be tough at times. It's scary not to know what the future holds. He stays positive by thinking of all the family and friends who are rooting for him.

"Believe me, there have been times where I thought I wasn't supposed to be here, but now I know I am," he said.

After high school Scott plans to attend Cypress College to go to culinary school or study to be a criminal investigator.

Bill, Scott's dad and a family-practice physician, said he has complete faith in his son's prospects.

"He's overcome a lot," Bill Ross said. "He is a survivor."