In November 2012, Fadela and Kenneth held hands with their sons, Noah and Sammy, and braved a chilly day to participate in their local St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. event. They were there to help raise funds and awareness for the hospital that helped saved Noah’s life. In late 2011, Noah had been found to suffer from a rare brain tumor called anaplastic ependymoma. His family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for his treatment and care.
In late 2011, Fadela and Kenneth were living a normal life with their sons, but in a matter of weeks, that all changed. Noah started to vomit on a daily basis. Fadela took him to the doctor, who said it was the stomach flu. Weeks passed. The doctor said maybe it was constipation. Tests didn’t reveal anything serious. “I just had a feeling,” Fadela said. “During the day, Noah was fine. He only got sick at night. It didn’t seem right.”
A CT scan confirmed Fadela’s unease: There was a mass on Noah’s brain, identified as an anaplastic ependymoma. He underwent surgery immediately to remove the tumor, but the doctors were unsure what the next course of action should be.
Noah’s family turned to St. Jude, where his treatment included chemotherapy and proton beam radiation. He also received physical and occupational therapies. “St. Jude gave us hope,” said Fadela. “They gave Noah a second chance at life.”
Even though Noah is done with treatment, Fadela and Kenneth’s bond with St. Jude remains strong. When they learned that their community would hold its first St. Jude Give thanks. Walk. event last fall, they signed up to participate. Along with more than 35 friends and family members, they formed Team Faith for Noah.
“Having a child diagnosed with cancer was the worst experience of our lives,” Fadela said. “But the treatment Noah received at St. Jude was lifesaving, and we were treated so well. It was such a blessing to be at St. Jude.”
Fadela and Kenneth plan on participating in the walk every year. With two small children, and another son due this summer, they’re happy to have an easy way to raise funds and awareness for St. Jude. “The walk is an easy event to become involved with,” Fadela said. “Everyone had fun doing it. And when people donate to St. Jude, they’re donating to kids and families who really need help.”