Monday afternoon Dalena Spence went to the post office. She went to mail information about her non-profit, Noah’s Legacy Project Inc., to local schools and camps in Benzie, Manistee and Mason Counties.
Noah’s Legacy Project works to help children from single-parent homes by giving them an opportunity to attend summer camp.
The non-profit started after the death of Noah Allain. His mother, Dalena, wanted to stay occupied and honor her son’s memory.
Allain died March 29, 2020 of a rare form of liver cancer.
“November 6 he called me and told me he wasn’t feeling well and would I take him to the emergency room and I did,” says Spence. “And they did an ultra sound and I could see everything and I knew it was not good.”
“He came in, the doctor, and said it appears you have cancer,” she says. “Not only did he have liver cancer, he had the worst kind of liver cancer you could possibly get.”
The cancer, Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma, was very aggressive. Allain was diagnosed in November 2019 and died in March the following year.
“I’m never going to be okay but I am going to honor my son,” says Spence.
Spence was having a difficult time after her son’s death. Noah’s Aunt, Leslie Allain Emond, suggested Spence find a project introducing the idea of a non-profit.
“When he was nine, his lunch buddy, Kathy Houston, an amazing, amazing soul gave him a scholarship to Camp Lookout [Crystalaire] in Frankfort and I was a single mom and it was the best thing ever,” Spence said.
Ten children will be going to camp in 2022 thanks to the non-profit.
“One of the biggest things I think he enjoyed during the summer was summer camp so his mom decided to bring me in on the project to send other kids that weren’t able to go on their own to a summer camp,” says childhood best friend, Natalie Koon. Koon is President of Noah’s Legacy Project.
“He grew up with me here in Manistee,” says Koon. “We were really close for a long time. He went into the military and went into a boot camp called Michigan Youth National Guard Challenge Academy that he actually recruited me to go to.”
Noah signed up for the National Guard, with his mom’s permission, at 17. He did it for a love of his country.
“When he was four and he learned the pledge of allegiance to take him for a walk was impossible because he had to stop at every flag,” says Spence.
“Noah was a protector, he really was. None of my children ever, ever, didn’t matter who you were or what you looked like, it didn’t matter you were to be nice to them,” she says.
Allain married Cheyenne Drechen November 24,2019. They had a son together in 2018. Shortly after they adopted Allain’s nephew into the family. Spence says he always wanted to be a father. Allain was a brother to Kevin, Amanda, Stephanie and Mallory. He also had many friends and family that loved him dearly.
“He was a good soul, and I understand why God wanted him, I just wanted him too, but I was blessed to be his mama for 25 years, five months and three days and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I love you, Noah. I miss you and I hope I’m making you proud.”
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