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14-year-old boy invents a soap bar that can help prevent skin cancer: 'I'm allowed to create'

He has come up with an affordable solution to prevent skin cancer and won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a middle school science competition.

14-year-old boy invents a soap bar that can help prevent skin cancer: 'I'm allowed to create'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | FOX 5 Washinton DC

The struggle of fighting cancer has been a long-prevalent illness and several scientists are putting in efforts to eradicate or completely cure the same. What is surprising is that even young minds are aware of the sickness and its battles and are putting their best foot forward to help. 14-year-old Heman Bekele won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a middle school science competition, with his noteworthy invention of a soap bar that prevents skin cancer. According to 3M, the boy had to come up with an invention that would be a brilliant aid to society at large and Bekele did just that.


"This year's Young Scientist Challenge finalists have demonstrated the skills required to reimagine what's possible—intelligence, curiosity, collaboration and resilience," said John Banovetz, 3M executive vice president. The outlet reported that Bekele has great plans for his new product. It is designed to be affordable and the 14-year-old hopes that he can one day distribute his invention by setting up an NGO for communities in need. Bekele's mother, Muluemebet Getachew, a special education teacher, mentioned that the boy was "self-driven" and eager to explore at a much younger age, per AFROTECH.


The boy took almost two years of hard work and education to make his idea tangible, per the outlet. He had developed an initial structure at the age of 12. Being curious by nature, he dug into the field of skin cancer and explored the sickness and its disadvantages. Bekele said, "I was looking into the issue of skin cancer and the fact that, especially in third world countries, people living under the poverty line just can't afford the treatment necessary for skin cancer led me to try to come up with a solution and that solution ended up being a Skin Cancer Treating Soap."


With his mentor, Deborah Isabelle, a product engineering specialist, Bekele could dive into what was just an idea and make it something real. "He's so far ahead of us. It was very exciting to work with him because he's so passionate and so focused, but he's also willing to accept suggestions," she said. Describing more about the product, SCTS, which is described as a "compound-based bar of soap charged with different types of cancer-fighting chemicals," Bekele explained, "It's supposed to help heal the skin internally, which will then show results externally because the skin cancer will slowly start to fade away."


While expressing himself and his journey, he said, "More than anything, winning the 3M Scientist Challenge has given me even more motivation." He further added, "It's empowered me to realize that science can get you somewhere and science is a viable option. It's also taught me that people want to hear about my ideas and I'm allowed to create. At first, this bar of soap just was a random idea by a 14-year-old and look where it's gotten me." The 14-year-old shared his motive for the project by saying, "By 2028, I hope to turn SCTS, which is right now just a passion, into more than that. I hope to turn it into a nonprofit organization where I can provide equitable and accessible skin cancer treatment to as many people as possible."


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