A young boy born with only two percent of his brain is hoping to learn to walk after five hours of surgery to straighten his legs.
Noah Wall developed the disease in the womb and his parents Michelle, 49, and Rob, 55) were informed by doctors that he would probably never speak, walk or eat alone.
But the nine-year-old is determined to follow his dream of running in a soccer stadium and eventually scoring a goal – and has taken his first steps to make it a reality.
Brave Noah was diagnosed with spina bifida early in pregnancy when a baby’s spine did not connect, and his parents were told that he would be paralyzed from the chest down.
Early scans also showed that at birth, he would likely be missing brain mass due to a porencephalic cyst in his head.
Tragically, Noah was given a non-reanimated order, and his parents were asked five times if they wanted to terminate the pregnancy.
The troubled parents had gone through the heartbreaking process of choosing a coffin and were already arranging a funeral for their unborn baby.
But Noah has stood up to the odds and has grown into a “brilliant young man” who has exceeded all his doctor’s expectations.
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On May 19, he had a five-hour operation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to straighten his legs and insert two plates into each foot.
During the operation, the brave boy lost a lot of blood and had to undergo a transfusion – but despite the fear of needles, a smiley face told Noah he felt fine afterwards.
Noah of Carlisle, Cumbria said, “I want to run first and then run. One day I want to play soccer and score goals. I think that would be exciting.
“I felt good after the operation, even if it was very sore afterwards. I have a few bruises and I don’t like needles, but now I feel fine.
“I have a blue plaster cast, and blue is my favorite color.
“My favorite color is blue and my cast is blue.”
According to mom Michelle, Noah was in a good mood throughout her hospital stay, entertaining the nurses with knock-knock jokes.
She said the surgery was an important step in achieving her goal of eventually seeing Noah walk. After the operation, he will undergo physical therapy for the foreseeable future.
It will be a slow process as his legs would break under pressure if he stood up by himself now.
But the mother of three said she was amazed at how positive her son had been.
She said it would make all the difference if Noah, who is currently in a wheelchair, could finally talk to people at eye level.
She said, “This is the next step, but he just did it with a smile on his face like he always does. It’s wonderful.
“He’ll be able to see people at eye level for the first time. I think we all take it for granted. And we shouldn’t.
“And maybe one day he will be able to follow his dream to run.
“Anything is possible in life and especially when it comes to Noah. He’s so determined and positive, it’s amazing.
“He’s just so determined to do things in life and has so much power to do that.
“He never says that I can’t, he just thinks about what to do and what to do next.”
Noah has lived his entire life since he was born, despite the odds, after doctors believed he was going to live in a vegetative state because of his condition.
Noah also had a rare condition called hydrocephalus, a life-threatening condition that causes fluid to build up in the brain.
As the pregnancy progressed, Noah began to develop more complications, and doctors believed he could develop Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome.
A baby with Edwards syndrome has three copies of chromosome number 18 instead of two, and unfortunately only 13 out of 100 babies born alive with Edwards syndrome will live after one.
Patau syndrome is a serious rare genetic disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 13, and only 1 in 10 children with the disorder survive a year.
Noah recently celebrated his ninth birthday and his proud mother said she was amazed how smart he was.
Noah is a proud sponsor of Variety, who works with disabled, sick and disadvantaged children, and The Music Man Project, which brings disabled children to the UK’s largest stages.