It was nearly Christmas, seven years ago, when my dear friend Kate first realized something was wrong with her baby boy, Noah. The otherwise healthy seven month old, who was nearly 11 pounds at birth, started to refuse food and developed a fever. As his symptoms worsened and questions went unanswered, Noah finally ended up at Children's Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago where he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I remember getting Kate's phone call, we cried, we prayed, and even in those very early days she demonstrated a level of courage that was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. Over the coming weeks, months and years Kate was a pillar of strength for her baby boy, who bravely fought and conquered cancer. Here are some of my favorite pictures of Noah from over the years, this boy is an inspiration.
Today marks the five year anniversary of Noah's last treatment, his final dose of chemotherapy. To celebrate, we had a special photo shoot to honor this big, healthy, happy boy and his amazing mother.
Noah's body still carries the scars of treatment, but he is SO strong and healthy... After Noah finished treatment Kate had an orange ribbon tattooed on her forearm to always remind her of Noah's courageous battle.
Kate brought along Noah's "Beads of Courage," 15 heavy necklaces filled with beads that he collected throughout his treatment. Each color represents a different step along the way - white beads for every chemotherapy, red beads for blood transfusions, beads to represent spinal taps, surgeries, bumps in the road, visits from grandparents, birthdays and holidays spent in the hospital. When Noah put all of these heavy necklaces around his neck, they hung close to his heart and made him truly look like a superhero. He laughed as we cried, it was truly a beautiful moment.
Noah and my oldest, John, have always been fast friends. They have grown up together, and seeing them together absolutely melts my heart. Even though Noah is now almost a head taller than John (who is tall for his age!), I love that these two are so close <3
Against the odds, this little boy fought for his life and won. Noah and Kate are two of my heroes, I love you both very much <3