5-year-old with cystic fibrosis asks for stickers, cards as he fights COVID-19

Haley SchneiderBy NICOLE PELLETIERE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A little boy who’s currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is requesting for people to send him stickers and notes of encouragement as he nears the end of his fight.

Noah Schneider tested positive for the virus on Dec. 30. The 5-year-old was born with cystic fibrosis — an inherited, life-threatening disease that damages the lungs, digestive system and other organs.

Mom Haley Schneider said that Noah often runs out of breath and because he plays from a hospital bed, enjoys relaxing activities like building, crafting and stickers.

Recently, one of Schneider’s friends asked Facebook friends to send Noah stickers.

“He’s gotten five cards, but nurses gave him [stickers] and now he has a couple thousand,” Schneider, of Yuba City, California, told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “He loves getting them. He asks almost every day, ‘Did I get a package?'”

“He doesn’t let anything get him down,” she added. “He was sedated and still giving people a thumbs up.”

Schneider said she knew that her husband Andrew had a mutated gene that could cause CF, since Andrew’s daughter from a previous relationship, Ashlynn, 7, has the disease. Schneider said she was tested and also had the mutated gene.

When she was 18 weeks pregnant with Noah, test results came back showing Noah had CF. Since he was born, Noah has been hospitalized close to 35 times and on a ventilator 20 times, Schneider said.

“Due to Noah’s frequent need of a ventilator during admissions, he received a trach [tube] in his throat Oct. 27, 2020, so it would be easier to ventilate without actually having to intubate him,” Schneider added.

Schneider said that on Dec. 15, her husband tested positive for COVID-19. He quarantined at home, though Schneider said Noah was likely exposed before his father tested positive.

When Noah began requiring more oxygen than he was getting at home, Schneider brought him to Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, where Noah tested positive for COVID-19 and still remains a patient.

DeeDee Rodigo is a child life specialist at Sutter Medical Center Children’s Center who focuses on psycho-social support for pediatric patients and specializes in patients with CF.

Rodigo has been supporting Noah and his family during his hospitalizations for nearly three years.

“His COVID diagnosis focused our team to become even more cohesive in supporting Noah and his family’s needs without every staff member being in his room,” Rodigo told GMA. “Giving Noah ways to participate in his care has given him control and mastery in a setting where control is very limited. Seeing how this has boosted his confidence and increased his trust in our medical team has been rewarding. He is an amazing little fighter.”

Since being admitted to Sutter, Noah has received antiviral drug treatments, convalescent plasma treatments and been placed on a ventilator.

Schneider said Noah has improved and his ventilator is on minimal settings.

“He’s awake during the day, sleeps at night. He’s not on any sedation medication,” she added. “He’s up in bed, playing.”

Schneider said Noah’s spirits have been lifted since receiving mail with stickers inside.

Some of Noah’s favorite characters are from Paw Patrol, Spider-Man and Toy Story. He also loves animals, trucks and emergency vehicles.

If you’d like to mail stickers and a note to Noah, please send to:

Sutter Medical Center
ATTN: Noah and Haley Schneider
2825 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, California 95816

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