Most of the time, people who met Noah Amador wouldn’t have noticed that he was sick. “He was pure joy, and so funny,” says Kathy Flores, Noah’s mother. His many interests included Mario and Luigi, pizza (naturally), and attending kindergarten, where he was adored by teachers and friends for his sense of humor and cheerful attitude.
But behind Noah’s incandescent smile was a painful journey: when he was just 20 months old, he was diagnosed with chordoma, an extremely rare cancer that’s even more rare among kids. Over the next four years, Noah endured countless medical procedures for chordoma as well as for his secondary diagnosis of leukemia. And, sadly, shortly before his sixth birthday, the brave, beautiful, and resilient Noah passed away.
“He made a lasting impression on everyone he met,” Kathy says. “Noah was always trying to make us laugh, to make us happy. That’s what keeps me going. He wanted us to be happy.”
Just a few months following their devastating loss, Noah’s family decided to continue their annual childhood cancer awareness event in the family’s Florida community. Now in its third year, the event raises money for the Chordoma Foundation, advancing research in hopes of better treatments — and ultimately a cure — for pediatric chordoma. “We chose to benefit the Foundation through this event because of what it’s doing to accelerate new treatments for pediatric chordoma,” says Kathy. “We wanted to help that part of the Foundation’s mission and honor Noah’s memory at the same time.”
Noah’s absence was felt enormously at this year’s bittersweet event, yet “there were smiles everywhere,” Kathy says. “The event was amazing; we had a great turnout. There was something for everyone: games, a silent auction, vendors, delicious food, music, and more.” Noah’s family was surrounded by love from their community, who came together to make sure the event was a success. “It was absolutely beautiful,” Kathy says.
The family is already planning another event to fundraise for the Chordoma Foundation as soon as this spring. “We’re hoping to hold events twice a year, every year until there’s a cure,” Kathy says.
Between her family’s fundraising events, Kathy works as a teacher at the school where Noah once attended kindergarten. “I’m around all of his little buddies, which is sweet and hard,” she says. “I can feel Noah around me all the time.”
You can donate in memory of Noah and support pediatric chordoma research here.