Encompass Winning Designer: Noah
Age: 15 years old
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Medical Condition: Asthma
Design Name: One Small Star
Noah has had asthma since he was 10 years old. He remembers the days leading up to his diagnosis: “I was so sick. I couldn’t breathe. I had been sick before but I knew at the time that there was something different happening inside of me - I wasn’t only miserable. I was in actual pain.” Noah was finally taken to the doctor, who shared that Noah not only had asthma but that it was brought on by his father’s smoking. Noah’s world seemed to grow smaller after his diagnosis. He had to avoid places that were dusty or filled with pollen or dander. He couldn’t be around his father while he smoked. He also could not take part in strenuous activity.
“It was –- and continues to be –- so frustrating,” says Noah. “No matter how careful I was in selecting what places I could actually visit, there was always that risk of suddenly having an asthma attack and not being able to breathe.” Through it all, Noah has learned to be vigilant.
Noah became a part of Starlight four years ago. He enjoys Starlight’s Great Escapes family activities program because these events remind him he can have fun in spite of his illness.
Several years ago, Noah was invited to share his story at Starlight Midwest’s gala. His family was taken to the event in a limousine.
“It was an unforgettable experience,” Noah says.
Noah’s biggest goal in life is to overcome his asthma, finish school and travel around the world. He often daydreams of the places he could visit if he had a magic carpet. These faraway places are the inspirations behind his art work, ‘One Small Star.’ Locations in the design include the Great Wall of China (Noah often hears stories about the landmark from his uncle who often goes to China on business trips.), the Taj Mahal (His family is of Indian descent.) and the Golden Gate Bridge (Noah hopes to make it to California one day to pursue acting.).
“It felt really great to know I won,” says Noah. “My design was meant to motivate young hospitalized patients to never stop dreaming about the great places and great experiences they will have one day. I want these kids to know that hoping for better days isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it will only make them stronger."