Noah’s Journey isn’t over yet

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By VICKI BROWN

A fundraiser was held for Noah’s Journey on Saturday, June 26, at Faith Church in Walterboro.

Sponsored by Aubrey Michele, Retta Lyons and Nathalie Lutz, the event was held to assist Noah Lutz with an upcoming surgery and to train his female dog Journey to be a certified service dog.

Born with a medical midline defect disorder, Noah, who is now 12, has undergone 45 facial procedures, along with multiple surgeries to his bladder.

Throughout all of Noah’s surgeries, a stuffed puppy has been through every procedure with him. But not too long ago, Noah received a real dog he named Journey.

Journey has been his close friend and companion every single day. The dog helps Noah deal with his medical issues and gives the boy support and unconditional love. But he needs to be fully trained in order to accompany Noah on his next surgery in September.

Together, along with his parents, Noah and Journey will be traveling to John Hopkins this fall for another in-depth procedure for eight weeks. The family, friends and Faith Church held the fundraiser to ask for donations to help cover the cost of this procedure and training for Journey to become fully certified as a service dog.

“We are looking at an 8 week stay in Baltimore for a large surgery (22 hours long) which leaves Noah in the hospital up to 2 weeks and then multiple daily appointments for the remainder of our stay,” said Natalie Lutz. “Due to multiple surgeons needed, our date has been moved to Sept 29th. We arrive on the 26th, pre-op 27th, admit the 28th, and finally surgery on the 29th.”

The costs involved for the family involve travel to Johns Hopkins Hospital-Baltimore, first driving and then plane tickets for Noah’s dad, Quillin Lutz to travel back and forth to visit his son. The family says they are praying that there will be an opening for patient family housing, which is $1400. Patient housing also supplies about 80 percent of meals.

If there are no openings, the family will have to stay in the nearby hotels at approximately $11,200 with no food provided. All of the close hotels are $200 a night. They even checked out AirBnB which would cost $8,919, also with no food provided, but it does have kitchen.

Since Noah was approved for a service dog, Journey has completed the first steps of training at a cost of $4000. Her next training will be for bladder spasm training. This helps her detect spasms before they happen to allow Noah to be in a safe place to work through it. The cost for this training? $10,000.

So the family, their friends, and their church worked together to sell chicken dinners and hold a silent auction.

“We thank those who were working on this event for weeks, late Friday night, up bright and early Saturday to set up the grills, to work in the heat, run inside, to help serve meals, and to love on this family,” said Natalie. “We are humbled and we are so very grateful to live in a community that supports those around them.”

The Lutz family has a special group page that talks more about Journey, called “Noah’s Journey” on Facebook.

This is where they have information and more personal updates. If you are not a part of this and wish to follow through the next steps, contact the Lutz’s on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2230809167147594/ or #NoahsJourney #NoahBEStrong.

For those wanting to send a donation, you can send a check written out to Noah’s Journey and mail it to 1129 Sawmill Rd. Round O, S.C., 29474. This will be deposited in Noah’s fundraiser account at BB&T Bank in Walterboro. You can also give at Venmo: @Quillin-Lutz-1, or Paypal: Nathalie Lutz (natlutz718@yahoo.com).

All of these donations will be used directly for the service dog and the hospital stay.

“Our family thanks you. Regardless if you can donate, we truly appreciate all of your prayers and thoughts,” said Natalie. “Noah’s road is long. This will be a life altering surgery for him. There is so much emotion wrapped up all around this. We cry when Noah doesn’t see us. Our hearts hurt for all he has had to go through. BUT we also cry with pride for the amazing young man he is becoming. God is working through Noah as Noah blesses all he meets.”

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