Photo by Meghan Hudson/ The Towerlight
By: Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief and
Stephanie Samsel, Contributing Writer
You might know Noah Grove as a Paralympic gold medalist, or maybe even as a Towson University senior. This fall, Grove is not only all of the above, but he’s an intern for the Cool Kids Campaign, a Baltimore-based non-profit that supports kids and families affected by cancer.
Grove was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2004 at age four, which led to the amputation of his left leg. For Grove, being a part of the Cool Kids Campaign means he can continue to advocate for families facing similar situations.
“My family didn’t have a lot of support emotionally, fiscally, educationally, and I had a younger brother,” Grove said. “So, it’s hard to find someone to watch him all the time with my parents in the hospital, and Cool Kids kind of embodies what my family would have needed at the time.”
In 2006 the Cool Kids Campaign was founded by Chris Federico. Having lost his mother to leukemia in 1995, Federico was inspired to help make a positive impact on not just kids with cancer, but their families.
According to the organization’s website, Cool Kids empowers hundreds of children each year by shipping care packages, mailing their newsletter to over 30 hospitals in the U.S. and hosting group events at both of their clubhouse locations in Towson, Maryland and Huntersville, North Carolina.
While interning for Cool Kids, Grove would like to learn the day-to-day operations of a non-profit and continue finding ways to help families.
“Even interns, they might be low-man on the totem pole, but they still do a lot of important work,” Grove said. “And they really help these organizations operate, and they can give back too. It’s not just a small role, it’s what you make of it. I really think they can have a big impact.”
TU students are impressed with Grove’s drive to continue becoming a better advocate through his internship. Sophomore Drew Cunningham believes it’s important to become educated in your passion.
“Because he has his own experience dealing with cancer, he definitely has a personal connection to the work that he’s doing,” Cunningham said. “I feel like with him, he can probably do more for that community than someone that doesn’t have that same experience as him.”
Sophomore Nia Green agrees that Grove’s relatability to the families he serves strengthens Cool Kids’ mission.
“I definitely think it’s very compassionate, and I think also being able to relate and help people that have gone through the things you’ve gone through is really powerful, and it helps breed the sense of community,” Green said.
She added that the importance behind his work is rooted in the principle of letting families know they are not alone.
“Going through cancer and trying to maneuver it is really difficult,” Green said. “I have some family members that have gone through it, so I think the support is definitely needed and going to be appreciated in the long run.”
Grove says he hopes to earn an opportunity to continue working with the Cool Kids Campaign down the road, as well as return to the Paralympics in Beijing in 2022.
“I want to continue playing hockey and use my platform to support people who are going through pediatric cancer,” Grove said. “It’s really hard out there for a lot of these families, especially if, you know, maybe they lose a limb or maybe even a life, you never know.”
As for Towson students, they hope to see a Cool Kids presence on campus in some capacity.
“I think if we participated in a way, it would bring us closer together and help us understand what we haven’t gone through,” Lauren Tomasello, a freshman, said. “I think it would be really cool having events. I would probably check it out and I feel like a lot of people on-campus would too.”
Grove’s message to TU students is to “just help others.”
“There’s a lot of opportunities to help and I don’t think a lot of people know how much power they can have in their own communities,” Grove said. “I think it’s really good to get out and it makes you feel good too, helping others. That should be something that we all strive for. And once you start thinking like that and start acting that way and then it leads to good things in the community.”
For more information on how to help or get involved, visit the Cool Kids Campaign website.