SHINGLEHOUSE, PA (WIVB) – 17-year-old Noah Howard has been different his whole life.
“Just being different in a small town in itself is really hard to do,” he tells News 4.
Noah was born without arms.
“There was no really medical explanation it just kind of happened naturally,” he says.
He lives in Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. It’s a borough of Potter County near the New York border with about 2,000 people.
Noah goes to Oswago Valley High School, where things haven’t always been easy. He’s had to deal with bullies, on top of the challenges that come with living without arms.
This year he’s become more independent than ever before.
“Getting dressed by myself, that’s something that I accomplished just lately. Eating, cleaning myself, cooking, anything. Anything that you would do with your hands I would do with my feet.”
Noah draws and paints with his feet too; he was a finalist in an art competition at St. Bonaventure.
Growing up, he says people didn’t always believe in him; that, he had to do for himself.
They didn’t know what I was capable of doing. And what I wasn’t capable of doing.”
Noah’s mom Stephanie had no idea her son would be born without arms.
“I just took care of him like another child,” she tells News 4.
At one point, they considered prosthesis for Noah.
“We thought about them until we saw what they are.They weight a ton. There’s no way he could ever have anything like that,” Stephanie tells News 4.
Noah’s learned to do most things with his feet, and he’s not letting anything get in the way of his future; he’s got big plans, including studying journalism next year at St. Bonaventure.
“I’ve always been so, I guess nosy. I always want to get to the root of things, whether people see that good or bad, I like to get to the bottom of things and figure things out,” Noah tells News 4.
This is a major step for Noah, who will be living on his own for the first time as a college
“I’m scared of letting him go,” Stephanie admits.
The 17-year-old wants to inspire others, and show those who feel different that anything is possible.
“I’m kind of like spreading my wings, I’m going to do my own thing.”
And telling his own story, is just the beginning.