Noah’s in the driver’s seat now
When Noah first came to Holland Bloorview he was scared of adults, and with good reason. For the first year of his life, adults, often in white coats, poked, prodded and examined his body. And most of the time it hurt.
Noah was diagnosed with cancer at less than three months old. He was successfully treated with chemotherapy at an acute care hospital but the cancer came back in his spine and he had to be treated again. The tumours and aggressive life-saving treatment caused a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down, leading to a referral to Holland Bloorview in the fall of 2016.
Today, two-year-old Noah is in remission and over the past 18 months his mother, Ivona, has watched him transform from a shy withdrawn baby into a happy, active, independent and social toddler.
Before starting physiotherapy, Noah couldn’t even sit and could barely army-crawl. He was fully dependent on Ivona for practically every movement. Before speech therapy, he couldn’t speak.
Slowly and gradually, Noah grew stronger and was eventually able to sit and stand on his own. (He’s also very recently shown signs of slight movement in his legs.) Speech therapists helped him say his first words. And when he was strong enough to push his own wheelchair last summer, that’s when his world really changed.
Ivona has gone from having to carry Noah to having to chase him, hearing him yell with excitement, “This way mommy!” And he’s gone from being scared of adults to racing up to greet them.
“Seeing your child thrive and having the confidence to do things and explore and be social…seeing him approach people in his wheelchair, it’s been fantastic for me watching him flourish like that,” said Ivona. “I honestly feel like Holland Bloorview is his second home.”