ST. LOUIS COUNTY — 13-year-old Noah Woepke is a sports fanatic. The Cardinals and the Blues are his favorite local teams. Favorite athlete?
"Lebron James definitely, said Woepke. "He’s a good guy out of basketball. Like he does a lot for the community. He just built a new school."
Doctors allow Noah to play basketball, but serious health issues mean football and soccer are ill-advised because of the risk they pose. There's no cure for his Parkes Weber Syndrome, a rare congenital illness resulting in abnormal blood vessels. Noah bruises and bleeds easily and takes medication for blood clots, caused by a protein deficiency.
"I don’t think they know how I get blood clots really because now I’m on a medicine that’s been working, so that’s been really good," said Woepke.
Because of his love for the game, Noah told his parents he wanted a basketball court at his house. According to his mother, Katie Woepke, a court wasn't affordable because of Noah's expensive medical care.
"With medical bills and stuff it just wasn’t in the budget," said Katie Woepke. "I didn’t really want the help because my pride gets in the way a lot,."
Katie's cousin, Kim Crank, took matters into her own hands. Crank started a GoFundMe campaign and contact several companies that construct basketball courts. Court Sport St. Louis agreed to a substantial discount if $5000 could be raised. The GoFundMe campaign has raised $3000 in just three days.
Noah didn't know about the plan until Thursday when his mother told him about the people trying to make his dream basketball court come true.
"Very excited," said Noah Woepke. "I’ll be out there every day once it goes in the backyard."
Noah's mom said raising a medically fragile child is challenging and scary.
"When he gets super sick he can’t walk because his leg gets too swollen or his body is too weak so we’ll have to like carry him," said Katie Woepke. "He does not let his medical condition control him so that’s what keeps me going forward. I think that’s why so many people are drawn to him because he’s not a victim."
Noah is philosophical about his illnesses and many trips to Children's Hospital.
"You kind of get through it and then you try thinking more of the positive stuff than the bad stuff."
Like a new basketball court.
For more information about Noah's GoFundMe campaign, click here.