Evan Mario Macrone never let cancer hold him back from enjoying Scouting.
And in a poem he wrote three months before he died, he encouraged all of us to let nothing hold us back from enjoying life.
The poem is at the bottom of this post, but I first wanted you to learn more about this incredible young man.
Evan’s remarkable life
Evan was just 11 when he got the diagnosis: an aggressive soft-tissue sarcoma. He endured 17 rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and several surgeries.
Through it all, he kept going to Scout meetings and attending campouts with Troop 22 of Tampa, Fla. He completed as many rank and merit badge requirements as he could, making it up to First Class. Even when a relapse forced Evan to use a wheelchair, that didn’t slow him down. He continued to show up at meetings, wearing his Scout uniform with pride.
Evan went to his final troop meeting on March 6. He died nine days later, at age 13. His family and his best Scout friend were by his side during those final moments.
On April 10, Troop 22 presented Evan’s family with the Spirit of the Eagle Award. The award recognizes the contributions of a Scout who died because of an illness or accident.
Evan’s second home
Evan’s favorite part of being a Boy Scout was camping. And his favorite place to camp was Camp Woodruff in northern Georgia.
Whether at camp or at a Scout meeting or in school, Evan was kind and friendly to all.
“He reached out to others who needed a friend when they may not have had one,” says his mom, Katherine.
It’s in that spirit that Evan’s mom, dad and two brothers established a campership in Evan’s name. It means that every summer, one Scout who might otherwise be unable to attend camp will get to go.
It’s what Evan would have wanted.
Evan’s parting thoughts
Evan wrote the poem below in early December. The message is powerfully clear: Squeeze as much as you can out of each and every day.
School Days: A Poem
by Evan Macrone
Throughout life I have learned
That you can’t stay clean on a camping trip
Even if you shower every day
That you can’t enjoy delectable doughnuts from Dough
Or pizza hot out of the oven
That you can’t avoid bites by bugs
From pesky gnats, ticks, and no-see-ums
And you can’t get a thick sanctuary from the weather
Just a stuffy, flimsy tent.
But you also can’t hike mountain trails
Go canoeing, kayaking, small-boat sailing,
Tubing, skiing, sightseeing, fishing,
Pioneering, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving
Cook meals for friends
Sleep under a night sky full of stars
If you are cooped up at home, hunched over,
Playing a video game
Or at school,
Taking an arbitrary test that will uniquely decide your future
Of being cooped up in an office till you croak.
So go and get out there
And maybe live a little
Cause God knows,
You could get cancer any day
Or get caught in a car accident
And how many days before that
Will you regret?