Noah Epps is living proof that wishes do come true and that miracles really do happen - with the help of Make-A-Wish.
Noah’s dream was to meet his idol Mickey Mouse. He was able to do that and more with a trip of a lifetime to Disney World.
“It was everything it could have been,” his mom, Katrina Smith, said. “Trip of a lifetime ... really ... we didn’t want to leave.”
Noah was able to go on the trip with his family, which included his mom Katrina Smith, father Anthony Epps and older sister Imani Patterson, through the partnership between Make-A-Wish and Eagle Rentals.
“I recommend anybody who has a child with disabilities to see if they can get a wish granted to go there,” Smith said. “It was a gift in itself to be granted the wish to go.”
The family was able to stay at the Castle of Miracles at the Give Kids the World Village which is designed like a real-life candy land. The village and its community partners provide children and their families accommodations in fully-furnished villas, transportation, tickets to theme parks, meals and daily entertainment, the Give Kids the World Village website states.
The trip also featured a Genie pass and the Genie lounge for the amusement parks. The pass helps wish kids skip lines while the lounge provides the availability to take breaks and rest for a while.
“I don’t think I had a vacation that great,” Smith said.
“We been here, there and everywhere and this is the best trip I have ever been on,” Anthony said.
The family also got to celebrate Noah’s birthday during its week-long trip, Smith stated. “I think he met Mickey on his birthday.”
Noah was able to turn 6 years old during their trip, which was once said to not be possible.
“Noah is a miracle, that’s the only word to describe Noah,”Smith said. “They didn’t give him a fighting chance from the womb. Noah has his own agenda… him and God.”
"Noah was born with multiple life-threatening medical conditions including heart disease and a nervous system disorder. With such significant critical illnesses, Noah’s health professionals were unsure of his quality of life. However, Noah does not let his conditions stop him from being a fun and funny … boy who loves Mickey Mouse," said Michelle Scannella, marketing and communications manager of Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina.
There are many words to describe Noah, but strong and resilient come to his family's mind as they talk about him.
“He is light in this dark world,” Smith said. “We have seen him bounce back from surgery like nothing happened.”
The family continuously glows as they sit around Noah, complimenting him and making him laugh.
“He is so smart, he is the only kid I know who doesn’t have to say a word to get his point across,” Smith said, with the whole family in agreement.
Noah’s journey has been inspirational for many people, but especially for his older sister.
"I wasn’t expecting Noah would be born with all those disabilities and I even wondered why he was born like this but I learned he was a blessing from heaven," Patterson stated. “My dream wouldn’t even be to be rich but to get a movie out there to tell his story."
Patterson has been inspired by her younger brother so much that she is interested in writing a book about him titled "Blessings Upon Us".
Smith also believes a story like Noah’s should be out to help families like theirs to know to never give up.
“I feel like there is someone out there who needs to hear a story like Noah’s,” Smith said. “Prayer works.”
“There are parents that give up – don’t give up. Miracles happen every day, he is living proof of that."
Noah has been strong and fighting what is believed to be unbelievable odds.
“You were born different so you could stand out. We call him Super Noah. We love him to pieces,” Smith said.