At 13, Noah Brady-Soares whispered a prayer to God for strength.
His older sister, Ashlee Brady-Kelly, was a patient at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. Born with cerebral palsy, she also had hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid accumulates in the brain.
Although Noah knew she was sick, it was the first time he had seen his sister suffering.
“I started turning the corner in the hallway towards her door and I stopped to prepare myself for what I was going to see and asked God to prepare me,” the now 18-year-old said.
“I saw these tubes coming out of my sister’s body and her head was half-shaved and I remember the pink fluffy socks she had on.
“She was very drugged up and the moment she looked at me I broke down and cried.
“I had never seen her in such a vulnerable position. My entire life, she’s been like my guardian angel, but God was my strength during trying times like that.”
Noah, who is in his final year of study at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, received an Outstanding Teen Award for Spiritual Leadership and Community Service this month.
He said he was “humbled” that his teacher, Karen Wicks, would nominate him.
Since as far back as he can remember, Noah has always attended church with his mother, Renee King, and grandmother, Grace Lovecchio.
He started to lean more on God during his preteen years and has been inspired by watching all the blessings that God has brought to his sister’s life.
“Despite having nearly 25 surgeries in her 26 years of being alive, she has never given up,” Noah said. “This May, she will graduate from university with a bachelor’s degree in social work, drug education counselling and American sign language.”
Noah has made it his personal mission to give back as much as possible.
He volunteers once a month with The Salvation Army’s soup kitchen and regularly helps out with a feeding programme, Loaves and Fishes, hosted by St Theresa’s Church.
He said: “I’m one of those people who loves to work behind the scenes and not get too much recognition.
“I don’t believe you need to have someone say to you ‘good job’, because the fulfilment you get when you help other people, it’s a reward in itself,”
When helping out with The Salvation Army he gets to talk with people — many of them homeless or disenfranchised — and hear their stories.
He gets “the best feeling” from it and believes it has taught him empathy: “You never know when you might end up in that position yourself.”
It has also taught the teenager that it doesn’t take much of an effort to give others hope for a better future.
For many years, Noah has been involved with Edge Bermuda, a Catholic youth group.
Steubenville Conferences, held across the US and attended by hundreds of thousands of teens each year, help him build his faith.
While at the annual event he has time to reflect with Christ and prays about important global issues with other believers his age.
His advice to other young people is based on one of his favourite Bible verses, Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has trouble of its own.”
“Every day there will be new challenges to face and people whom you will be challenged by, but your only concern should be on what you’re doing in the present moment, how you are helping and lifting others up,” he said. “Because when you close your eyes that night and open them back up the next say, there will be a whole new set of challenges.”
source: Royal Gazette