Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Scouts support one of their own
By Sully Witte
Boy Scouts are a brotherhood like no other, and 15 year-old Dawson Bourne learned that recently,
An Eagle Scout in Troop 502 on the Isle of Palms, Bourne was recently diagnosed with bone cancer.
The chemotherapy he’s been undergoing has caused Bourne to lose his hair - a big blow to a 15-year-old boy.
But according to his father Charlie, he has handled it with grace and a positive attitude. “He has made a lot of friends in that troop,” his father said, “and the boys and their parents have been incredibly supportive of Dawson, furnishing meals, visiting him in the hospital, sending him cards, etc.”
He got an even bigger surprise when he attended last week’s troop meeting.
Almost 20 scouts and scout leaders shaved their heads as a show of support for Bourne.
“We are all tremendously touched by these scouts’ support,” said Charlie.
Shelly Van Overeem, mother to two scouts in the troop said the shave-a-thon was the idea of the kids and “a way to help the boys cope and to help Dawson feel like he is still part of the group.”
Dawson said what the scouts did really touched him. In an email message to the Moultrie News he wrote, “It has been nice knowing that I’m not going through this alone. The scouts and the leaders and the parents have been so supportive of me.”
His dad Charlie noted that the entire family has been overwhelmed by the support from the scouts and their families. “They have visited Dawson, provided meals for our family, brought Dawson cards and gifts, and even have entertained his little sister while we’ve been at the hospital. The show of unity and support of all those scouts shaving their heads was just unbelievable.”
Dawson has been a member of Troop 502 for four years. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in February.
When he endured his first chemo treatment, his hair began falling out, and friends got word that he was less than pleased with this. He was encouraged to just go ahead and shave his head. He wasn’t too thrilled with this look either.
So to support him, his fellow scouts decided to shave their heads too. They also Facetimed the entire event so he could watch, laugh and be a part of it.
There were some new scouts who participated and those who did not participate, were there supporting the others, according to Van Overeem.
“Dawson had something positive to think about the night before his second round of chemo instead of having to actually think about the chemo,” she said.
In addition to shaving their heads, the scouts have been passing out silicon arm bracelets that say “Bourne Faith (referencing 41:11) Fear not for I am with you all.”
The scouts wear them faithfully, Van Overeem said, and give the bracelets out to others who want to support him.
Guy Powell is Troop 502’s scout master. The troop meets at First United Methodist Church on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. There are 70 active scouts in the troop.