Photography by Nicole W Photography
This handsome and adventurous young man is Noah. Exploration of the great outdoors and exhilarating activities fuel Noah’s passion. He lives for adventure and spending almost every waking moment outdoors. While some teens enjoy playing video games for hours on end, Noah prefers to keep his eyes on the sky and feet off the ground. As a young teenager, he spent most of his time pedaling his bike over mountain trails, flipping off boulders into a lake, diving, snowboarding or wakeboarding. He and his friends shared many escapades at skate parks and trampoline parks where he excelled at skilled tricks and flips. His favorite organized sport is baseball and he played in several levels throughout the years, including recreational ball, All-Stars and Travel ball. He even achieved his ultimate goal: playing at Dreams Park in Cooperstown, NY.
On July 26 of 2017, everything changed within a split second. Noah was in an accident that altered his future tremendously. He had gone with two of his friends to their favorite trampoline park. They were jumping for most of the afternoon, doing their usual flips and tricks. Noah was working on perfecting a flip when he under-rotated and landed on his neck. This harsh landing ended up compressing his spinal cord and fracturing three vertebrae. Instantly, he lost all feeling from his chest down. His arms and hands went limp and he felt the sensation of being outside of his body. He was rushed to the hospital via ambulance and endured a significant live saving surgery.
In this invasive procedure, two rods were inserted to re-align his spinal cord and eleven screws attached the vertebrae to those rods. Fortunately, the spinal cord was not severed, but he sustained spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. He spent two weeks in ICU and then transferred to an intensive inpatient therapy program for nine weeks. He worked diligently in physical therapy several hours per day to regain motor skills and relearn how to do everyday tasks that previously happened automatically. After inpatient rehab, he spent six weeks in a specialized outpatient therapy program where they continued to target skills that seem so simple. The skills we all take for granted, like rolling over.
Through determination and hard work, Noah found himself becoming stronger, regaining sensation and learning how to live life after his injury. He and his therapists worked on getting dressed, bathing and completing school work. He also learned to mobilize via a wheelchair. This was quite different than what he was used to.
Upon his homecoming, Noah faced a new set of challenges as his home was not adequately designed for living with a wheelchair. The home’s floor plan included narrow doorways and neither a bathroom nor a bedroom on the ground floor. He only had access to two rooms in the house and the formal living room had to become his bedroom. In addition, he was forced to take showers at the local YMCA since there was an accessible shower there.
After four months of the day program with outpatient therapy, it was time for Noah to return to school. Since Noah was injured right before his senior year of high school, he missed the entire first semester while he was working to recover. In order to graduate with the rest of his classmates, he doubled up on work and completed the entire year’s curriculum in one semester. To top that off, he graduated with all A’s and B’s.
Noah’s hard work and never give-up attitude has paid dividends in academics and rehabilitation. He has regained so much movement that as he has regained substantial movement and feeling below the point of injury that his condition is no longer classified as a complete injury. Noah continues today to work toward reaching his goals.
This year, Noah’s sights are set on college. His ambition is to study audio and video technology. Although he previously biked down mountains, he is currently learning to maneuver his wheelchair on the rugby court as a member of the Shepherd Smash team at Shepherd Rehabilitation Center. Noah is determined to enjoy many more adventures despite his injury and refuses to allow the challenges he faces to get in the way of his dreams. He faces life with gratefulness and a reverence for those who have shown him an outpouring of love. He is especially thankful that Sunshine on a Ranney Day will be renovating his bathroom and bedroom to allow his greater independence and mobility.
Please join us in bringing a little sunshine to Noah’s life by supporting this project and coming to the great reveal party!