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I am feeling very frustrated right now. I just sufferewd a heart attack, and also diagnosed with lung cancer. So this has curtialed my scouting, znd caused my son to drop out because Dad is not able to participate now. Now I asm not looking for sympathy, I am looking on how to get my son back into the program, and figure out how to stay involved. Any suggestions would be appricated.



Robert L. DeWitt

Chickasaw District

Georgia Carolina Council

Boy Scouts of America


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We used to have a guy in our troop that had MS. Couldn't hike/camp/you name it... BUT since he was home all day he was great at the back end of the program... press releases, paper work, all them phone calls that I can't make from work... he kept on top of it all. Don't drop out, adjust.


(Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family)

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"Heart desease is natures way of telling us to slow down"


Seriously, follow your docs advice, take it easy, call in those markers and get the friends to take your boy to Scouts. Make sure the boy knows how proud you are of his activities and accomplishments. Do the background stuff like wingnut suggests. Take the boy out on one-on-one things, as you are able. Invite him to come along on your walks or therapies.

Does he have any competitors for your attention? It may be the case that Scouting was "his time with you" and he sees the need to sacrifice FOR you! You can still make that decision unnecessary.


My dad had never been a Scout, altho in his younger days he had been (among other things ) a timber cruiser. He liked the outdoors but couldn't do too much hiking or active camping WITH me, but he was very supportive of my Troop. And when he had HIS 'minor infarction' (twice), he made it clear that my life would proceed as before, with certain adjustments on his end. Mom drove me to meetings for awhile, etc. He lived to see my Eagle and graduate from HS and college and marriage and granddaughter. Make it clear to your boy that he ain't done with you yet.


God be with you and your family.



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Mr. Dewitt,


ditto on getting as well as you can...


I won't tell you things will be ok or any of that other drivel 'cause I am not your doctor (nor do I play one on TV). Not knowing the type or stage of your cancer nor the damage done by your cardiac event means everything I could say would be feel good platitudes...


I will say, from personal experience, that your having positive attitude and real determination to fight for every day you have left on this earth can make a tremendous difference in the quality of the "rest of your life".


I did it backwards and in slow motion from your "event". Almost twenty years ago Cancer "took" my left lung, when I was only 38...and while my two lads were toddlers...I had the Docs throw everthing including the kitchen sink at my chest to evict any remaining cancer...I survived but it really changed my life. Then last year, my heart "went on vacation" (without notifying me, of course)...seems it might have been at least partially caused by damage don fighting the cancer. Won't say my pacemaker and meds made me a new man, infact, has taken more than a little of the "spring" out of my step. But I help our troop as I can...This week I am chief cook for the Adult kitchen on the Beach camp we do...In a couple of weeks I will be giving flat water canoe lessons to new scouts and their parents. (many of the other adults treat me like I am fragile...try to carry things for me...offer to wash my dishes...At least until I threaten to die on them if they don't back off...(I do, though, let them do most of the heavy lifting).


Seriously, As Windnut and SSScout have said -there are a host of things you can do to help take the load off of the SM or troop chairman without putting your health at significant risk...as you mend and with your Docs agreement simply "line up" your skills, talents and interests and talk to other troop scouters about how you would like to help.


Your son is another matter, not knowing him or his age- many things can be at play including a fear that the scouting thing will over tax you, resulting in harm...or worse.


Please talk with him about your feelings on the matter and why you think it is important that he give scouting another try...Also remind him that many dads do not have the ability to do the "scouter thing" and you have been very lucky to have been fully involved up to this point. Let him know that you want to get involved again as your health will allow.


But most of all be sure to get it across to him that you do not want to be "the reason" he misses out on his scouting experience. That your thinking he has given up scouting because of your "condition" makes you sad. And you would love be able to get another "taste" of our game with a purpose...even if it is only by listening to him recount the fun he had on the next campout or next hike or his trip to summer camp. All the while, carefully being sure not to lay a guilt trip on him but offering him a real chance and opportunity to make your life brighter by sharing his scouting adventures with you.


Thoughts and prayers from another traveler



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You of course do have my good wishes, prayers and kind thoughts.


As for your future involvement in Scouting?

One thing that we have as an organization is lots of opportunities for people to get involved.

A lot of course depends on what you like doing and what you feel you are capable of doing?

For a good many years Her Who Must Be Obeyed, chaired the Council Volunteer Recognition Dinner. A job that needed doing, but wasn't too demanding on her time.

You might want to spend sometime thinking about what you want to do? And then give someone a call. Maybe a unit needs some help on the committee level or the District Chair knows of a District committee that needs some new blood.


What happens to junior?

Again maybe it's time for a heart to heart chat with him?

Could it be that maybe he never really wanted to be in Scouting? And his only reason for being in the program was his way of trying to please you?

Many Scouts (Me included) Have gone all through our Scouting "Careers" without having parents actively involved in the program.

If he wants to remain active? I feel sure any problems that might get in the way (Traveling too and from the meetings or financial) can be discussed with the unit and overcome.

If he has made up his mind that this isn't something he wants to do? Your best bet is to accept it. The last thing you need is the stress of trying to get him to do something that he hasn't got his heart in.


As you might know last June we found out that the cancer my wife thought we had beaten returned.

The past year has not been easy.

I went through all sorts of feeling and not so nice thoughts.

A lot of the time I was mad.

Mad at the cancer, mad at God, mad at the Doctors,mad at my wife. Just mad!!

Because of what was going on at home I cut back on a lot of what I was doing in Scouting.

I'll admit that I missed it. I somehow felt that my not being there meant I was missing something.

Jamie, my wife is a fighter!! She made up her mind that she was going to fight.

The Doctors and medical staff were a big blessing. Even when I was being a first class pain! At times the chemo and all the joys that went with it seemed to be just way too much for me! But She looked at them as a means to an end.

She returned to work in January.

Sure somethings are not the way they were. She can't drive and walks with a cane. Her hair has come back!!

Cancer is not nice or good. But I can put my hand on my heart and say that having "Been there" We as a family are more loving and more of a family because of it.

So far the tests that she has had since the chemo ended have all been good.

The support we have got from family, friends and the staff at the cancer clinic was nothing short of wonderful.

Fighting it is not easy and at times will seem to be just to big and overwhelming, please don't give up.

I will light a candle for you this Sunday, when I stop in for my chat with the Big Boss.


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Mr. DeWitt,


My prayers are with you and your family as you struggle. Don't forget to count your blessings in that you are located near GREAT medical facilities. The research being done and the level of care in the area is the reason many people from far away travel there for medical care. Many people from my area travel the 4-6 hours to your area for medical care.


I agree with the others that there are many things you can do, perhaps even while you are battling your illnesses. As an Assistant Scoutmaster for a small troop, I would love to have someone to take over any portion of the paperwork. Emails and keeping records would give me some much needed breathing room. Our SM had a heart incident a couple of years ago, now he is back to doing much of what he did before. Staying involved gave him a focus outside of his medical issues, which was beneficial to his mental state as he struggled.


Although your son wants you there, this could be a great growing time for him to develop the confidence to function without Dad there as backout. My son has actually told me, he does not want me involved in OA. That he wants it to be his own thing. Time involved in Scouting can give your son the break from illness that he may need.


All in all, do what you can, and encourage your son to take some time for himself to be a boy and not just the kid with a sick dad.



down in SWGA





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Robert, my thoughts and prayers for you and your family at this time. It's been stated before, but a positive fighting attitude towards this disease will be beneficial to you and your family. Don't take it lying down!


Your dedication to your son and to scouting is admirable. You need to make sure your son understands how you feel. He may be thinking that he's doing the right thing by being with you more instead of attending troop activities. That's the way I'd think anyway. Give him the green light to attend meetings and outings. Let him know how you feel about the program and how proud you are of him.


Also as said before, take care of your self and your needs then slip back into the program in a way that fits your abilities at the time. Our CC had a stroke a year ago. Actuall two. He was sidelined until about a month ago and is taking on a less active roll in the committee. We're happy to have him back and happy to adjust to his needs. Every bit of help is needed and appreciated in my unit, and I'm sure your unit is no different. Take what responsibility you can when you can and give what you can give. Nobody can do more than that most assuridly.


Good luck with your illnesses, listen to your doctors, be positive and Fight On!

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