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On February 14, when the cars at the Daytona 500 revved their engines to begin the opening race of the NASCAR season, 3-year-old Noah of North Carolina could barely contain his excitement. From his perch in the Window World hospitality suite, he smiled, pointed at the action below and clutched his own model race car.
Two NASCAR drivers that day—John Andretti and Boris Said—were racing for Window World and St. Jude. They drove cars emblazoned with the St. Jude logo. Noah cheered for them.
The Daytona 500 was the kick-off event for the 2010 Opening Windows for St. Jude Kids fundraiser. The campaign unites NASCAR fans and Window World customers with the mission of St. Jude. Fans could call or text donations, or give by visiting www.windowworld.com, which links to a St. Jude donations page. The event was a success, raising $250,000 for the hospital.
Noah’s happiness that day seemed like a miracle.
Less than three months earlier, St. Jude doctors had begun treating Noah for a rare and deadly brain tumor, but here he was enjoying life. The journey to this moment had been a dangerous one, full of twists and turns, but like any champion, he had come out ahead.
On December 4, 2009, Noah’s right eye turned inward. His mother, Billie, assumed he was tired from playing, but even after a nap, his eyes never uncrossed. Tests soon revealed Noah suffered from an inoperable brain tumor called a pontine glioma. The oncologist said Noah might only have six months to live and advised Billie and Noah’s father, Richard, to look into hospice arrangements for the future. Noah’s parents were devastated.
But Billie’s aunt, Jan Kilby, had been talking about Noah with her co-workers at Window World. The company is the nation’s largest supplier of replacement windows, and in 2008, it began supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a corporate partnership. Kilby, a long-time Window World employee, urged the family to look into St. Jude. Soon, the family had obtained a referral.
At St. Jude, the family found a beautiful hospital and a caring and determined staff. Their physician spoke frankly with the family. He admitted the prognosis for children with a pontine glioma had traditionally been grim, but also told them St. Jude had devised a new treatment regimen. Hopefully, this would have good results. In December, Noah began a course of 30 radiation treatments. He also began a chemotherapy regimen that will last two years.
Through their charitable foundation, Window World Cares, Window World has raised more than $915,000 for St. Jude since its partnership with the hospital began in 2008. Because of Noah, the company is more determined than ever to help St. Jude in its mission of finding cures and saving children.
Billie and Richard are overwhelmed by this kindness, but they look at their son and understand why people want to help Noah and other children like him.
“He’s my angel,” said Billie. “He has a beautiful smile and a good heart, and he’s just so quirky. He just brightens your day, and you have to love him.”
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