#Noahstrong: still strong, back home

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Esteban Serrano, Lead Editor

It’s been nearly a year since Noah Adams graduated from Central Catholic. Noah was the senior who found out he had Ewing-Sarcoma while enjoying his summer vacation last year. To the day he walked the stage, support from the Central Community was stronger than ever.

Now, Noah takes on another challenge- being a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh, while still getting used to his prosthetic leg. The Pep caught up with him and his mother- Debi Harper, during the extended winter break in January, and he explains his life in college while dealing with the presence of a special new friend.

Adams explains that college life is great and that he is adjusting to it very rapidly. He says his focus on spending time with his high school buddies, as well as preparing for his big move up north, overshadowed most of his summer. But now that he is in school and dealing with the college student life, and had a recent visit to the clinic with positive news that his body is gaining normalcy once more, Adams has way more on his plate.

Although all his life is busy, he has had the time to do something very unique. “I started a non-profit for pediatric kids,” Adams says. “Right now it’s only at University Hospital, but we’re hoping to expand,” he continues. He also said they had a board meeting recently, while Harper jokingly said, “He is now my boss!”

¬†It’s called the Stay Strong Foundation, and it essentially helps children who are in a position Noah was in a little more than a year ago. Christmas, he says was busy, due to the fact that they were able to donate around 1,600 toys to University Hospital and he is looking forward to their next planned project, which he says will be a blanket drive. “Hopefully we can give (all) the kids some blankets. It’s just something to keep them cozy,” he says.

They both are hoping to eventually expand their chapter to other hospitals around town, and possibly around the country; however, COVID-19 is still a hindrance. For now, though, Adams says he is grateful for being able to start small.

Adams also welcomed his service dog most recently. Her name is Aria… she is a full-blood German Shepherd. “She is going to be trained as a retrieval and mobility dog. She’ll guide me if there’s danger… anything that I need help with, she’ll be there to help me with.” He continues, “She can do that, she’s not like a master and can carry me around like a horse but if I’m falling she’ll help me, so luckily I hadn’t fallen, (yet) so I don’t know what that feels like, but with the ice up in Pittsburgh, hopefully, she will catch me if I do end up falling.”

Harper adds, “It’s kind of been a blessing that Noah’s classes went virtual for the first couple weeks, so he’s been able to stay longer, and therefore train with Aria longer.”

Aria is fully trained, and Noah is able to take her into public. It is something Noah describes as like a “mode” for Aria. He says that her vest almost clicks her brain to understand she must take care of Adams. However, he says, once you take it off of her, she is a normal house dog. Harper said that she is still maturing because she is still young, but the trainer said they were confident that she would mature faster and get the hang of commands more rapidly as well.

Other than managing his cancer, Adams has been taking it slow in college life up in Pittsburgh. He says that it was a huge transition considering his study habits depleted from when he was in high school, but ultimately is managing. Adams is back up at the university where his freshman year is coming to a close in May. As for both Adams and Harper, they are still managing, and Adams continues to be Noah Strong.

Photo provided by Debi Harper