Health Challenges Couldn’t Stop This Scout from Earning Eagle

Eagle Scout with health challenges
Joshua in his Scout uniform (Photo credit: Ruth Jones)

Earning Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout, is one of the most challenging feats any Scout can accomplish. Pair that with severe health conditions and the difficulty only grows. Yet when Joshua J. faced such obstacles, he refused to let them keep him from his Scouting dream.

At age eight, Joshua was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent six weeks of full brain and spine radiation, along with 59 weeks of inpatient chemotherapy.

Despite his taxing health challenges, Joshua still managed to earn his Arrow of Light and Super Achiever Award while he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. His mom, Ruth, says he would even ask her to recite his Boy Scout Handbook aloud during recovery. 

Since his treatments, there are no signs of any tumors, yet some conditions still present many everyday challenges. He’s lost much of his hearing, short-term memory, and his thyroid is no longer functioning.

Joshua’s Positive Attitude Prevails

Joshua knew he had a long road ahead to Eagle, especially earning physically demanding merit badges like cycling, hiking and swimming, but he always kept his spirits high.

Even when his doctors and Scout leaders thought he couldn’t get through the cycling requirements, he proved them wrong. Joshua faced the challenge head on and completed the 50-mile cycling prerequisite just as others in his troop did.

“That really reflects his attitude to Scouting,” Ruth said to “He doesn’t ever say, ‘I can’t or I shouldn’t,’ he just says, ‘what do we need to do,’ and then he finds a way to do it.”

Joshua spearheaded an Eagle Scout project in which he held a community toy drive and carnival. Instead of charging an admission fee, the Scout requested attendees bring one new toy to be donated to Primary’s Children Hospital. His mother says his hospital visits inspired him to complete the project and hopes the toys bring joy to patients who might be sad or bored.

Now that he’s earned Scouting’s highest rank, is the Eagle slowing down? Not a chance. Joshua is helping others achieve their Scouting goals too. In fact, he’s mentoring a Webelo Scout who’s striving to earn the highest rank in Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light.

To learn more about this Scout’s inspiring journey to the Eagle Scout rank, head to for the full story.


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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at