The smiling Hartlepool two-year-old who is always cheerful despite a brain tumour - now you can help get him to Disneyland
Meet Noah. He’s two years old and he loves to be happy.
But behind the lovely smiles is the story of a little Hartlepool boy who has a tumour on his brain and it has only recently been discovered.
Courageous Noah has a grade 3 glioma which is a type of tumour which can happen in the brain and spinal cord.
It is so close to his brain that it can’t be operated on, and although he is receiving excellent treatment from North East doctors, no-one knows yet whether Noah will go blind.
"It is a cancer and it is quite a rare one,” said his mum Abbieleigh Griffiths who shared the family’s story with the Hartlepool Mail to raise awareness.
His friends and family have also launched a fundraising battle to get him to Disneyland in Paris and proud Abbieleigh, 18, said that, despite all his health problems, ‘he is the happiest little boy I know.
"Because he has an inoperable tumour, the main concern right now is that he could lose his sight and family and friends are trying to raise funds to get us to Disneyland.
"After Noah’s tumour and all his chemo, this would be a real treat for him.”
This is the story of an Owton Manor family (mum Abbieleigh, dad Jamie Greenhow, 20, Noah, two years, and baby daughter Ivy, 22 months) whose lives were changed forever a little over two months ago.
That is when Noah had a seizure and was rushed to hospital for tests including MRI scans.
And by complete coincidence, the tests for the seizure also showed up a totally unrelated tumour which was on Noah’s brain.
"The seizure was not related to the tumour but if Noah hadn’t had the seizure, they would not have caught the tumour,” said mum who described the whole experience since then as like her ‘world had come crashing down’.
Abbieleigh remembered the day she found out the results of the tests.
She said she was ‘making tea’ at home when she was called by the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to be told her son had a rare cancer in his brain and needed chemotherapy.
"I started crying and Noah’s dad was saying we had to be strong. I was completely shocked like any parent would be.”
Noah had to have a device fitted to his chest so he could receive chemo treatment and Abbieleigh recalled the moment when she realised all this was really happening to her son.
She was in hospital for his first chemo session and saw a notice on the drugs which were marked as toxic.
“That’s when it hit me,” she said. "It is where we came to terms with it."
Abbieleigh admitted: “It was like my world came crashing down. It was every person’s worst nightmare to get this news."
Noah is now having chemotherapy treatment every Friday for a year.
At first Noah handled the chemotherapy treatment well but he stopped eating three weeks ago and lost half a stone. He had to have a tube inserted so he could be fed three to four times a day.
He has also lost a lot of hair but never gives up and never stops being cheerful.
His mum told the Hartlepool Mail: “He is such a happy boy and he is so understanding. He is only a baby and even through all his injections, I have been more scared than him.
"There are times when he looks at me and it’s as if he is saying ‘mummy, what are you crying for’.”
But Noah is no stranger to fighting and being brave. He has fought with health problems ever since he was born early. He came into the world at 30 weeks.
He was poorly when he was first born and only went home at seven weeks.
More disruption came when his baby sister Ivy was born. She also arrived early – at 27 weeks – and Noah had to spend four months with mum and dad in hospital while Ivy received treatment for a life-threatening infection in her bowel.
"We didn’t know if she was going to survive and she had to have emergency surgery,” said mum. “Then she had to have some of her small intestine removed and we were four and a half months in hospital.
"Noah was in hospital with us for four months. He was in hospital with his little sister.”
Yet Noah, even though he was a mere 11 months old himself at the time, was the perfect big brother and never complained at being in hospital all that time. "He never gets upset and he doesn’t have tantrums,” said Abbieleigh.
Now, close friends of the family are fundraising to get Noah and his family to Disneyland in Paris and they are aiming to raise £5,000.
Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, more than £3,500 has already been raised but there is still a way to go.
Donna Sweeney and her daughter Janine Cantwell are spearheading the fundraising and would love people to support their efforts.
Donna said: “We want to send them away with a comfortable amount of money.”
You can find out more at the Noah’s Superhero Journey Facebook page.
Those who know him have described Noah as a ‘real life super hero’ and his Facebook page already has around 300 members but more will be made welcome.