Scout wrote powerful poem before cancer took him

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?

38 Comments

  1. What a beautiful testament to what Scouting meant to him. And, even at his young age, he, through his parents, has left a legacy to Scouting in the Campership his parents have established. It should stand as an example to us that no matter what we are doing for Scouting, each of us can do more.

  2. Much respect to this young man and the parents/family/leaders who molded him into a fine example of what Scouting is all about. Prayers of solace for his family/friends/fellow Scouts. Salute!

  3. Thank you all for your kind comments about my son Evan. He was a great son and we miss him very much. – Dominic Macrone

    • As a Dad who also lost a Scout too young I love and appreciate that you shared this. My heart breaks for you. I hope that you have the support and resources that you need.

      My daughter Delaney was a Girl Scout and she passed away at only 8 years old. Your poem and your story touch my heart and will continue to touch the heart of many Scouts from now on. Thank you for sharing. May your fond memories of Evan help with some of the grief. You do not walk alone on this path. – Jeff K. (Delaney’s Dad)

    • This poem should be the scout master minute at every meeting around the world. I know I will share it with my Crew with tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing it with us all!

      • Ditto. I’m a scoutmaster in NC and I’ll talk about Mario’s story either at an upcoming troop meeting or our next court of honor.

        My heart is heavier from reading this, and my prayers are with Mario in the afterlife and with his family in the here and now.

        • I would like to donate to the campership fund that was established in Evan’s name.

          And I apologize for using his middle name in my reply above. My bad for typing a reply from my desk among work-related distractions.

        • Thank you so much, if you would like to donate to Troop 22 Evan Mario Macrone Camp Woodruff Scholorship (Campership) fund please feel free to send checks in care of Troop 22 to this address:

          Scoutmaster Steve Lehner
          511 Severn Ave
          Tampa, FL 33606

    • My daughter was a Girl Scout and she passed away at only 8 years old. Your poem and your story touch my heart. Thank you for sharing. May your fond memories of Evan help with some of the grief. You do not walk alone on this path. – Jeff K. (Delaney’s Dad)

  4. Evan may not have attained the rank of Eagle, but he definately exeplified the Eagle spirit. May God look over him in his final resting place. I truly believe he will live through his poem forever. Condolences.

  5. Can’t take the outing out of Scouting. First Class Scout Evan, I hope Lord Baden Powell and you are enjoying Heaven. He’s probably showing you all the more magnificent things to keep doing. Thank you for leaving a footprint on our hearts, and reminding us to take the challenges of life, with no regrets. God Bless You and your Family here. Shalom – Peace Be With You. ASM Kuka Broussard, W6-104-13, Aloha Council HAWAII.

  6. I honestly believe this beautiful poem will be read at scoutmaster minutes, campfires, summer camps, NYLT weeks, and WoodBadge courses across America for years to come.

  7. I posted a link to this page in an email group, and received a very surprising and touching response from a parent whose son died this week. she wrote: “We lost our life scout on.Monday and when I read the poem you posted earlier I felt such a comfort you have no.idea. I was able to sleep. I wanted to thank you for sharing. My son was 14 and nearly finished his project. His goal was have the whole troop earn their Eagles and to go into the military. He wasn’t sure which one until he started the Aviation merit badge and then he knew.”

    His goal was to attend the AF Academy.

  8. If I were National BSA HQ, I’d fly his parents, if they consented, to the Jamboree so that they could be with thousands of Scouts while this poem was read. Now that’s leaving a legacy!

  9. Evan Macrone’s words impart a wisdom that sounds far beyond his years. Excellent for Scoutmaster’s Minute. Thank you for sharing your son’s story.
    George Leydon, DO
    Eagle Scout
    Den Leader, Pack 16 Madison, WI

  10. Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful tribute to scouts and scouting! God bless Evan and his family! Godspeed!

  11. If anyone would like to donate to Troop 22 Evan Mario Macrone Camp Woodruff Scholorship (Campership) fund please feel free to send checks in care of Troop 22 to this address:

    Scoutmaster Steve Lehner
    511 Severn Ave
    Tampa, FL 33606

    Thank you to everyone who has responded and please share with anyone – Evan would have liked to know that others were finding joy and peace with his words.

    btw he liked his middle name Mario so it is ok if anyone called him that!

  12. This is a great motto for living. I didn’t know Evan but my bet is he lived his life according to the Scout Motto and passed along a wonderful example to us all. He is in a heavenly campsite now. Praise God.

  13. Dan Rorrer – Eagle Scout, Father of Eagle Scout, Grandfather of Eagle Scout.

    A great lesson for us all. Appreciate the moment and do what you can to be friends with others.

  14. What a sweet, precious boy. I love his poem and his smiling face. I can’t imagine the loss. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Wow! Thanks for sharing his story and poem. As committee Chair for Miami Troop 529, i will be sharing Evans eye opening poem. May his “Spirit” be forever live on with EAGLES.

  16. Teddy Roselvelts Imother said I did not raise my boys to be sparrows i raised them to be EAGLES WE RAISE OUR BOYS AND GIRLS TO SOAR LIKE EAGLES CHAPLAIN WILLIS BUDDY CLARK,JR

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