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Your Healthy Family: From slim chances of living to goal of pediatric neurosurgeon

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Born with a congenital heart condition, Noah was given a 10 to 20% chance of living Born with a congenital heart condition, Noah was given a 10 to 20% chance of living
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Just how does a young person decide to become a doctor or a surgeon  --let alone a pediatric neurosurgeon?  Noah Devolve is heading into his senior year of high school in Colorado Springs and is a young man who made that exact decision a long time ago.

Thanks to the summer Junior Medical School Program at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, which Noah took part in last summer, he has a much better idea of exactly how a hospital works.  He also got to speak to many medical students and working professionals about their jobs.

Noah says, “The big word I would use is ‘exposure.’  I talked to people all the way from the medical helicopter, to the pharmacy, to medical school students that are interning here. It was just awesome exposure to everything that the hospital has to offer.”

A career path to becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon is demanding, but after getting to interact with doctors and surgeons, Noah has a much better idea of how he is going to reach his dream career. Much of it is because of the path he has traveled in his life from day one.

Noah explains, “I was born with a congenital heart defect.  I was declared terminal and then I was moved over as a last resort to Children's Hospital Colorado.  I was given a 10 to 20 percent chance survival. I received open heart surgery when I was 18 days old and from then on I started recuperating.”

Noah made a full recovery from his heart condition and lived a very normal and active life until the age of 12, when pain in his legs lead to four surgeries on his knees and ankles to correct his bone growth.

Through his many experiences as a patient, Noah not only had his own life saved and improved but he says he found the desire to pay it forward and help others through his career choice.  

“It was really inspiring to see how the doctors work with each other and to see how much hope and care all the surgeons and doctors and nurses and everyone gave to me and my family.  As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a part of that. I have wanted to give that kind of hope and save other people the way I was saved.”

Noah thought he knew the medical world cold through his life experiences, but the three days he spent in the Junior Medical School program gave him a new valuable mindset as he tackles his daunting educational path that leads to where he wants to go.

“I've been on the patient side of the table.  I've seen a lot of surgeons and in my mind they're held up on a pedestal because they have had so many years of training and education and you know how much of their lives is dedicated to this.  I use to think, ‘wow I can’t mess up a second, I can't get a single bad grade, I've got to be on top of this, and I've got to be constantly perfect’. After talking with some of the medical students and some of the doctors on staff you realize many roads lead to Rome.  I was able to see that you don't have to be perfect, and you don't have to know exactly what you're doing from the moment you're born, in order to reach the goals these people have achieved. They say the best way to eat an elephant is bite at a time.”

Memorial is still accepting applications for the July and August sessions, so if you’re interested and would like to apply, head to the UCHealth.org and click the volunteer link or call the volunteer services office at  719-365-5298.

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