Earning the Eagle Scout rank isn’t the first challenge Charter J. of the Northern Star Council has encountered in his life. Not only has the Scout been working hard to join Scouting’s highest rank, but he’s also been battling a rare genetic disease that’s made earning Eagle Scout an even greater task.
In April 2010, the Scout was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 2, a disease characterized by the growth of tumors throughout the nervous system.
“It was heartbreaking,” Charter J. shared with the Woodbury Bulletin. “It was quite a lot to get used to.”
Yet despite his condition, Charter is a model of the Scout Oath and Scout Law by being brave, cheerful and helpful to others and hasn’t let the disease stand in the way of achieving the Eagle rank.
For Charter’s Eagle Scout service project, he spearheaded a music therapy program for Prelude Homes and Services, a memory care center for the elderly with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The project was very near to his heart because he’s coping with hearing loss himself.
After having surgery to remove a tumor, the Scout has lost all of his hearing in his right ear and will eventually lose the hearing in his other ear. Additionally, Charter has struggled with vision impairment, facial paralysis, and a potentially shorter life expectancy.
“I won’t let that affect me,” Charter said. “I’m going to make the most of what life I have.”
“The fact that he is going to eventually lose his hearing one day has made music a big part of his life right now,” his mother explained. The Scout says elderly care is also particularly meaningful to him.
How Scouting Made a Difference
“Boy Scouts provided me with something to do, somewhere to go to have fun and forget about my worries,” he said. “But it also really provided a lot of strength, helped build my motivation, my determination, my discipline.”
Since joining the program in kindergarten, Scouting has played a significant role in his life and he plans to continue being involved after accepting the Eagle Scout award. In fact, Charter hopes to become a merit badge counselor and troop leader.
“I really enjoy the camping, but more importantly the values that are taught,” he said. “Companionship, teamwork, leadership.”
Charter says Scouting has taught him many lessons that have helped him grow in the face of adversity and feels confident about pursuing his passions in the future.
“It’s still hard to believe,” he said. “I’m very proud of myself, I’m very excited and satisfied that I was able to tackle this challenge. I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I think I am, even if I don’t believe so myself. I can accomplish great things.”
Read the complete story on this inspiring Scout by visiting the Woodbury Bulletin.