Communities Come Together to Beat Down Cancer

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By Meghan Okuley Achimasi

If not for the bright green “Chemo Sucks” hat proudly worn by 13 year-old Noah Okuley,

2012 Nov Noah's Story - pic

13 year old Noah Okuley with custom made 6 foot bat; a one-of-a-kind production courtesy of Jim Barna Log & Timber Homes, headquartered in Oneida, TN.

you would have no idea of the battle this inspiring young man has been facing over the past two months. 

When an enlarged lump under the collarbone prompted a visit to the pediatrician on Sept 6th, doctors insisted that Noah proceed to UVA Medical Center immediately for further evaluation and biopsies.  Officially diagnosed with Stage 2B Hodgkin’s lymphoma several days later, the last several weeks of Noah’s life have been filled with numerous visits to Charlottesville, rounds of chemotherapy and daily injections to boost his immune system.  Undeterred, Noah still attends school regularly maintaining the Honor Roll, but has been forced to take a break from his beloved soccer until he recovers.  The mandatory breather from soccer, Noah maintains, has so far been the worst part about having cancer.

Noah resides in Bedford, VA but has strong ties to Chesapeake.  Both of these communities are coming together in huge ways to help Noah fight this battle. 

Along with a team of volunteers, Michael P. Okuley (Noah’s Dad), originally from Great Bridge, organized a hugely successful event in Bedford on October 20th.  Dubbed the first annual “NoahFest”, over 1,000 people came out to the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains for a day of music (9 bands performed live), a silent auction with over 180 donated items, and plenty of family friendly activities including games, balloon animals and, of course, tons of food!  The fundraising event, organized in a mere 20 days, is now scheduled to become an annual occasion to help other children fighting cancer and disease in Central Virginia. 

And, right here in Chesapeake, Jesse Stalnaker, Pastor to Community and Families at Great Bridge Baptist Church, has been training to run a marathon later this month to support Noah.  Noah’s grandparents, Mike and Linda Okuley of Chesapeake, are members of Great Bridge Baptist and have been so touched by the outpouring of support for their grandson.  Jesse continues to receive many cards, letters and support for Noah in advance of the marathon, scheduled for November 10th in Richmond.

Even with major medical insurance, the costs of Noah’s treatments are not completely covered as the brand name injections (nearly $2,000 per cycle) are paid out of pocket since there is no generic equivalent.  These expenses are in addition to a high deductible and coinsurance. 

Literally surrounded by prayer, the map on Noah’s Facebook page shows that people are praying for him in every U.S. state and from as far away as Australia and Thailand.   Please join family and friends in bombarding heaven with prayers of healing and perseverance for Noah.  

If you would like to offer financial support, you can donate to the Noah Okuley Benefit Donation Fund online at, or donate at any Wells Fargo Branch (Account #1020479273).  100% of all donations go directly towards the cost associated with his medical care and treatment.  You can also follow Noah’s journey by visiting the NoahFest page on Facebook. 

Together, let’s help Noah give cancer the “beat down” it deserves. 

Megan Achimasi is Noah’s aunt.

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2 Responses to Communities Come Together to Beat Down Cancer

  1. Mike Okuley Reply

    November 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Wow! What a well written article, and very inspiring to see it appear in such a classy publication!


  2. Bonnie Johnson Reply

    November 16, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Inspiring story of my handsome great nephew!! We continue to pray for your complete healing by God, Noah!! Meghan, great writing!!

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