POWDERSVILLE—Benjamin Carlson is nearing the end of his Boy Scout career, and soon hopes to find himself among the ranks of Eagle Scout.
The topic of his Eagle Scout project, however, has motivated him to accomplish something even greater.
“All I have left to finish the whole scouting experience is to do an Eagle Scout project,” said Carlson. “I’m working with the Alzheimer’s Association to create awareness for their trial match program. This is a nationwide program that is looking for matches for a number of clinical trials where doctors are testing medicines in an effort to understand how to detect and control Alzheimer’s while looking for a cure.”
Carlson says he chose this topic after the recent death of his grandfather.
“Last year my grandfather died from Alzheimer’s,” said Carlson. “It’s just a really horrible disease. Spending time with him was different because he was sick and wasn’t himself, so we had to learn more about the disease and learn how to be around him.”
Through research, Carlson says he has learned some unsettling news about the disease.
“I’ve learned that there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, and it’s only going to get worse,” said Carlson. “It’s becoming more and more common, and we have no way to treat it. That’s why I got involved.”
Carlson says he has had the opportunity to talk with some people who have been directly affected by the illness, and believes that a majority of families know what it is like to have a loved one acquire Alzheimer’s.
“It is something that has affected everybody,” said Carlson. “I’ve talked with people who have had (loved ones) die, and you just get the feeling that you’re actually doing something important.”
With the completion of this project, Carlson will finish an experience that he says has been very rewarding.
“It has definitely been a ‘keep your eye on the prize’ situation,” said Carlson. “Not everyone makes it to this stage (of scouting). I’ve had times where I’ve considered not moving forward, but I had to keep pushing because it is for a good cause. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.”
Scouting has also taught Carlson some valuable life lessons.
“(Scouting) has taught me how to use my time wisely,” said Carlson. “I’ve learned to do something productive rather than just waste my time.”
Carlson says he will need help, not only to reach his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout, but to fight the devastating effects of Alzheimers as well.
“The point of my project is to get people to sign up for trial match,” said Carlson. “They’re not actually signing up to be part of a clinical trial, but it lets the Alzheimer’s Association know that people are interested, and they will send out more information.’
You can help Carlson by logging onto www.Alz.org/trialmatch , or by calling 800-272-3900 and finding out more about the trial match program. When you call, be sure to mention Eagle Scout so the organization will know the call is for Carlson.