. . . And Spark A March Forward To Planned Retreat
Noah Herniman is an extraordinary young man.
Despite being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the 16-year-old from Chepstow is focussing on helping others in similar circumstances to himself.
It’s a powerful spirit of generosity that Chepstow Racecourse is proud to be assisting with the Family Fun Day in Support of Noah’s Journey on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29.
The six-race flat meeting will offer a wide variety of family entertainment as well as an opportunity for everyone to help Noah help others, with his campaign to raise funds for Noah’s Retreat, a permanent holiday home that will offer respite care to families going through similar journeys to his own.
The campaign is in its early stages but has already earned considerable backing and support, including from Welsh actor Michael Sheen, a determined activist for the rights of young people.
Noah - who a year ago was discovered to have an inoperable benign tumour at the core of his brain - is a teenager on a mission.
Firstly, he’s gearing up for more arduous chemotherapy treatment that is currently stabilising the growth of his tumour, but is unable to make it shrink.
But at the same time he is determined to deliver that retreat which will give patients and their families somewhere to go to get away from it all.
Noah’s mum, Shelley says: “Noah has made it clear to us, he doesn’t want us to raise funds to send him abroad for treatment that is really non-existent at the moment.
“He says to us, ‘I want to live here and now, mum.’
“So, this idea of raising money for a retreat for people is his idea and it’s really important to him.
“He believes it’s vital that people have time to make memories. He always says to me, ‘You don’t make memories sitting in a hospital or even your own living room - or at least ones that you want to remember!’
“We have some very insightful conversations, considering he’s a 16-year-old.”
Ideas for the retreat range from a static caravan to a cottage by the sea, but Noah - who is a massive Dr. Who fan - is determined to deliver somewhere that can stand the test of time.
He has already kicked off his fundraising with a variety of events, including shaving the head of his teacher at school on the last day of term.
“This race day is really important to him and to us,” adds Shelley.
“It means so much to him to get this off the ground, which he knows is going to be a huge task. He has started a crowd-funding page, does various events like spin the wheel and many different things, and now we have a day at the racecourse.
“Raising awareness and getting some momentum behind this is so crucial to him.
“Noah is very quirky and sometimes he doesn’t realise how funny he is. I have said to him, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? It’s going to be a lot of work.’ And he laughs and says, ‘Yes, mum, I know. But it’s really important.’
“He is a very humble boy and down to earth. He doesn’t feel like he is doing anything extraordinary, perhaps because he's been involved in his community, helping with fundraisers, for years.”
The Bank Holiday Family Fun Day will allow people to support Noah’s Journey and help him kickstart his ambition for the planned retreat.
There will be a strong six-race card and lots of family events to enjoy, including fun fair rides, dodgems, children’s rides, face-painting, bungee trampolines, bouncy castles, treasure hunts and more.
Kids go free on the day and families can also bring picnics to the event, but no alcohol.
Chepstow Racecourse executive director Phil Bell said: “Noah is an inspirational young man and we are delighted to be able to support his campaign.
“Once again, it shows that horse racing and charity events offer a perfect partnership opportunity, but particularly for campaigns like this one which is all about generating awareness and visibility.
“We are very much looking forward to hosting Noah and his family and it should be a great day for everyone.”