VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — An entire community in Virginia Beach is reaching out to 8-year-old Xavier Noris from Princess Anne Elementary School.
He turned 8-years-old on May 25 in grand style. He’s the child Ten On Your Side profiled earlier this year; he beat COVID-19 only to learn he has stage 3 cancer.
The COVID-19 pandemic divided the Princess Anne Elementary school family—some learn at home and some learn at school—but a display of love brought everyone back together for a socially safe birthday celebration on a roll.
Xavier’s father Henry was behind the wheel as Xavier, his big brother Devyn and mom Nykisha sat in the bed of a pickup truck to greet students, teachers, and parents who wrapped displays of love around the school building on Seaboard Road.
Principal Ivy Wroton came up with the idea to spread some love Princess Anne Style.
“I thought of a couple of ideas and I kind of landed on this. It’s great to get all of the kids out for him to just send the love and support,” said Wroton.
For many in the crowd, the parade offered their first opportunity to see Xavier in person since he was diagnosed with a stage three tumor after recovering from COVID-19.
His second-grade teacher, Christina Kernutt, says classmates who are also learning remotely have extended a hand to Xavier. “They are so supportive. Every time he hops on Zoom, they are so excited, like, ‘Xavier is on here, we’re so glad he’s here,’ they would ask how he is feeling and he’d say I’m OK,” said Kernutt.
The Tuesday birthday celebration was special for the entire Noris family but the following day was also special.
Wednesday morning, doctors at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters removed Xavier’s left kidney along with a massive tumor that was the size of a grapefruit when Xavier was diagnosed earlier this year. The surgery follows a long ordeal that began in January when Xavier was diagnosed with COVID-19. He fully recovered but weeks later he noticed blood in his urine.
Within a matter of hours, the family learned Xavier had a stage 3 Wilm’s tumor that would require chemotherapy and surgery. His father Henry, a Merchant Marine was at sea when the initial diagnosis was made.
“I pulled in the day he got diagnosed we pulled into NOB [Naval Station Norfolk] shot straight to CHKD and went from there,” said Henry.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters went to war on a tumor the size of a grapefruit. Removal was too risky because a critical vein was also involved. The disease and the more aggressive treatment took a toll but over the weeks the drugs worked.
“It[the tumor] did retract out of the vein and we got the thumbs up,” said Nikysha.
Early Wednesday morning Nikysha, at Xavier’s bedside, snapped a selfie before he was rolled into the operating room. Four and a half hours later, a catheter was removed along with the affected kidney. The next picture she snapped tells the story of resilience, faith, effective medicine, and prayer.
It said “when one person in the family, has cancer everyone has cancer.” When Xavier lost his hair to chemotherapy, his brother and father took it all off in a display of support.
Before the surgery, Xavier told Ten On Your Side he looks forward to a return to in-person learning in the fall.
“I’m going to be really excited to see my friends.” said Xavier.
Over the months the family has received a tremendous amount of support from the community including a fitness event in Chesapeake and a GoFundMe page to help the family. One person even donated a two-day camping trip for the entire family.
Chemotherapy treatments could resume next week depending on the outcome of pathology reports.