Meet Noah, Roswell Park's 2021 Tree of Hope lighter

Noah Camacho is the 2021 Roswell Park Tree of Hope lighter.

This year's virtual event takes place on December 10.

Tree of Hope 2021

Watch Channel 2 WGRZ's live coverage of our Tree of Hope Celebration on Friday, December 10, from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.

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Life happens fast – something we all know. We find ourselves on a journey of becoming who we want to be, discovering our interests and imagining what our futures might look like. For some, that journey might be sidetracked by an unexpected diagnosis that suddenly slows everything down.

Sometimes it's also good to intentionally slow down and take a moment to appreciate all that we still have. For Noah Camacho, 18, there's so much to celebrate this holiday season.

For many teenagers like Noah, the excitement of college, moving away from home and embarking on a new chapter is more than just a rite of passage. On July 19, 2021, one week before his 18th birthday, that plan suddenly became a distant and postponed thought. For four months, symptoms that started off with a cough quickly turned into fevers, night sweats, unexpected and rapid weight loss and random nausea. Without making assumptions or understanding how significant these symptoms might be, frequent trips to the doctor lead to the prescription of allergy medicine, asthma medicine, antibiotics and ultimately the possibility of walking pneumonia. When it turned out that it was not walking pneumonia, the next identification was whooping cough. Prior to sending Noah to an infectious disease specialist and pulmonologist, his pediatrician ordered a CT scan of the sinuses and chest.

When the scans came back, a large mass was identified by Noah's heart. Shocked by the results but knowing something had to be done quickly, the Camachos immediately went to Oishei Children's Hospital. After further examination, it appeared there was a mass between the lungs that traveled from Noah's trachea all the way down past his heart on the left side. The coughing Noah was experiencing was a result of the mass pressing against his trachea. The Roswell Park Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program then brought Noah into the care of the pediatric experts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Two needle biopsies and a scope to examine Noah's lung cavity and lymph nodes ultimately lead to the diagnosis of stage IIB Hodgkin lymphoma. The family was told that at this time surgery was not an option and that Noah would have to go through five cycles of chemotherapy at three-week intervals.

Recently completing his final treatment as an outpatient at the Pediatric Clinic at Roswell Park, the family can look back on the journey with hope and appreciation. The treatment regimen for Hodgkin lymphoma is very intense, including many long days spent in the clinic. As the family waits for the determination on whether radiation will become necessary for Noah's treatment, they are thankful for the care he has received thus far.

Not showing signs of defeat, Noah shares that his time spent at the Pediatric clinic with pediatric hematologist and oncologist Matthew Barth, MD, and the nurses and staff made the diagnosis something he could tackle one day at a time.

"It has been pretty intense,” he says of his experience. "But everyone has been so nice”

Adding to that sentiment, Noah's parents also reflect and confidently share that "everyone has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful in the pediatric unit. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

On Friday, December 10, Noah will flip the switch and bring to life our Tree of Hope, shining bright for all those battling cancer and celebrating the victory of those who have survived their diagnosis. The Tree of Hope ceremony celebrates their journeys and gives hope to all whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Grateful for Roswell Park, the family acknowledges how lucky they are to have a center like this in our community.

"The quality care Noah received was fantastic. I think the Tree of Hope symbolizes a great medical center that we have here in Buffalo and the hope that it can provide people with the medical care and recovery from a devastating diagnosis,” shares Martin Camacho, Noah's dad.

For others who share a similar journey to Noah, we gather on this special night to let hope shine through.

Be sure to join us on December 10 as we celebrate with Noah and hold a candlelit ceremony paying tribute to those we've lost to cancer and survivors still in the fight.

Why Roswell for Pediatric Cancer?

At Roswell Park, we want the childhood cancer survival rate to keep climbing. When you trust your child’s cancer care to us, you are giving your child the tools needed to fight this battle.  

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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.