VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Beating blood cancer one step at a time – that’s the goal of an annual gathering in Virginia Beach called “Light the Night." This weekend, WAVY's Tom Schaad and a special friend will be at the event.
Every 10 minutes someone in the U.S. dies from blood cancer, one of the three leading causes of cancer deaths -- even more than breast cancer. Five-year-old Noah Huseman from Virginia Beach is one patient who's fighting to beat that statistic.
"You want me to show you how fast I can run? Look how fast I can run, Mr. Tom Schaad," yelled Noah during an interview with WAVY.com.
Noah's heavy breaths from running don't deter him from exhibiting seemingly boundless energy, which is a much different picture than July of last year. That’s when Noah and his family first got the bad news.
"I felt like I was in a tunnel, I felt like I couldn't hear anything. I couldn't see anything. I was just looking at the doctor and trying to absorb what they were saying,” said Noah’s mother, Sarah Huseman.
The diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia. From there, it was weekly rounds of chemotherapy. Noah's bare scalp showed the struggle in stages.
"I felt helpless,” said Rhonda O’Bannon, Noah’s grandmother. "I still can't talk about it a whole lot sometimes.”
But it's hope that brings their family together and why Noah's grandmother is a tireless champion for blood cancer research.
"When I was Noah's age it was three percent survival rate, and now it’s in the nineties,” O’Bannon said.
Now, after months of treatment, Noah's attention is back on things like playing with his sister or the wonder of a praying mantis. His boyish blonde locks have returned, as well. His family has noticed a new dimension of understanding.
"He's different than other kids, as far as his compassion for other people and sensitivity to other people,” Huseman said.
Now Noah's journey runs at breakneck speed to a target of September 2015 -- his last scheduled appointment for chemotherapy.
"It's tough. It's not always easy,” Huseman said. “You try because you have no other choice."
That's why hundreds will walk with Noah in Virginia Beach this weekend, although this young man prefers to run. They will walk in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's "Light the Night" walk, vowing to walk every year until the end of cancer.
The steps we take daily go virtually unnoticed; they often have little purpose except for the most practical means of transportation. But when we multiply those steps by thousands, it becomes a movement. That's why 10 On Your Side’s Tom Schaad will be taking the walk with many in Hampton Roads Saturday evening -- to support the movement against blood cancer.
You can run with Noah or walk with Tom Schaad at 7 p.m. this Saturday at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The group will gather at the 31st Street park around 5 p.m. to register and then walk the boardwalk with illuminated balloons.
For more info on the event, click here.
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