A 9-year-old boy born with just 2 percent of his brain hopes to learn how to walk after undergoing a five-hour operation to straighten his legs.
Noah Wall from Carlisle in Cumbria, England, developed a rare brain condition in the womb, and his parents Michelle, 49, and Rob, 55, were told by doctors he would likely never talk, walk, or eat on his own.
However, the young boy has been determined to follow his dream of running and eventually scoring a goal at a football stadium. To make his dream a reality, Noah has taken the first steps.
Brave Noah was diagnosed with spina bifida—a congenital defect of the spine in which part of the spinal cord and its meninges are exposed through a gap in the backbone. This often causes the individual to be paralyzed from the chest down.
Early scans revealed that Noah would likely be missing a quarter of his brain at birth due to a porencephalic cyst in his head, which was destroying his brain.
As the pregnancy progressed, Noah began to develop more complications and doctors believed he may develop Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.
A baby with Edwards’ syndrome has three copies of chromosome number 18 instead of two, and sadly, just 13 in 100 babies born alive with Edwards’ syndrome live past 1 year.
Patau’s syndrome is a serious rare genetic disorder caused by having an additional copy of chromosome 13, and only one in 10 children with the disorder survive past a year.
Tragically, a “do not resuscitate order” was placed on Noah and his parents were asked five times if they wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
The distraught parents had gone through the heartbreaking process of choosing a coffin and were already arranging a funeral for their unborn baby.
Noah has spent his entire life since birth defying the odds after doctors believed he would live in a vegetative state due to his condition. He also had a rare condition called hydrocephalus, which is a life-threatening condition that leads to an accumulation of fluid within the brain.
The 9-year-old, who recently celebrated his birthday, has seen his brain grow to 80 percent, and his proud mom said she was astonished by how smart he was.
On May 19, Noah underwent a five-hour surgery at Royal Victoria Infirmary in England to straighten his legs and insert two plates into either foot.
During the surgery, the courageous boy lost a lot of blood and had to have a transfusion. But despite being afraid of needles, a smiley Noah said he felt good afterward.
“I felt good after the surgery even if it was very sore after. I have a few bruises and I don’t like needles but I feel good now,” Noah said. “I have a blue plaster cast and blue is my favorite color.”
Noah was in good spirits throughout his stay at the hospital and kept the nurses entertained with knock-knock jokes, according to his mother.
Michelle said that the surgery was an important step towards achieving their goal of eventually having Noah run on his very own feet. Following the surgery, he will be undergoing physiotherapy for the foreseeable future, where he will use a stander that will gradually increase in its angle to apply weight on his core.
It is believed to be a slow process, as Noah’s legs would otherwise break under pressure if he were to stand up on his own now.
However, the mother of three said she was amazed by how positive Noah had been through it all.
Michelle said it would make the world of difference if Noah, who is currently wheelchair-bound, could finally speak to people at eye level.
“He’ll be able to see people at eye level for the first time, I think we all take standing for granted. And we shouldn’t,” Michelle said. “And maybe one day he’ll be able to follow his dream to run.”
Michelle believes that everything is possible in life and, especially with Noah, she says everything is achievable as he is so “determined” and “positive.”
“He never says I can’t, he just thinks about what he needs to do and what he needs to keep doing,” Michelle added.
Noah is a proud patron of Variety, which works with disabled, sick, and disadvantaged children, as well as The Music Man Project, which puts disabled children on the United Kingdom’s biggest stages.
Epoch Times Staff contributed to this report.
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