Starlight Child gets free, all-you-can-grab shopping spree
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:40PM EDT
Christmas came early for a nine-year-old Kitchener girl on Wednesday.
Natalia Noah was given three minutes to grab as many toys as she could off the shelves at Toys "R" Us.
The shopping spree program, run by Starlight Children's Foundation Canada, allowed her to grab 60 items off the store's shelves.
But being a Starlight Child comes at a cost: since she was two, Noah has suffered from intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and was recently diagnosed with epilepsy.
"It's hard. She has her good days, she has her bad, she has a lot of struggles throughout her life," her mother, Jen, explains. "She's missed a lot of school, due to being in the hospital a lot."
The girl's illness has taken its financial toll on the single-parent family. Jen Noah is unable to work full-time because she takes care of her daughter.
"It never ends. We were doing well for a while until three weeks ago, she got a bowel obstruction, so we were admitted for five days," she explains.
She entered her daughter in the contest, but didn't think she'd win: every year, just 10 kids across Canada become a Starlight Child.
Natalie Noah is the first from Kitchener.
Melanie Teed-Murch is the president of Toys "R" Us Canada. She says it gives the chance to not think about treatments or illnesses.
"This really gives our Starlight Children and envelopes their family with three minutes of fun," she says.
The nine-year-old girl has a long road ahead with tests on the horizon, but for now, she's only thinking about one thing: "taking all these things home," she says.