Butler student, son of 2 cancer survivors does 100 daily push-ups to support boy with neuroblastoma

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Butler University student raised thousands of dollars to support the family of a 5-year-old with stage 4 cancer by committing to grueling daily workouts.

Noah Weiss, a college junior majoring in marketing, asked friends to donate $1 for each push-up he did during the month of January.

He did 100 push-ups daily — usually in sets of 25 — with the goal of raising $3,100 for Michael Esquivel, a boy in Illinois he had never met.

Weiss was inspired to create a fundraiser for Esquivel after his aunt sent him a link to a GoFundMe page benefiting the boy’s family, he said.

“I reached out to the [Esquivel] family and learned more about what they were going through,” Weiss told News 8. “It was really moving… to know what Michael has had to go through at the age of 5. It’s something that you don’t want to see at all and nobody should have to go through, especially at that age.”

Esquivel was diagnosed as a baby with neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancerous tumor that develops from nerve cells and almost always affects children.

His cancer went into remission for nearly four years before he relapsed in Dec. 2018, his mother told News 8.

The Chicago-area family travels to New York for Esquivel’s cancer treatments, often documented on the “Prayers for Michael Esquivel” Facebook page.

In 2019, Esquivel underwent 26 rounds of radiation, 15 sessions of immunotherapy, eight rounds of chemotherapy and four surgeries during seven trips to New York, according to the family-run page.

Photos and videos posted by his mother show a boy brimming with curiosity and resilience. Facebook videos show him laughing with doctors while sitting in his hospital bed, singing on Christmas morning days after starting chemotherapy and bowling at the Ronald McDonald House hours after undergoing hive-inducing immunotherapy.

Supporting the tenacious tot by testing his own strength was the “perfect challenge,” Weiss said.

“My mom and my dad are both cancer survivors,” he told News 8. “My grandma on my mom’s side is a cancer survivor and, sadly, my grandma on my dad’s side passed away from breast cancer. In a lot of ways, I felt called to help out.”

Although he completed his month of 3,100 push-ups, Weiss plans to continue his fundraising efforts and campaign to increase awareness of neuroblastoma.

Esquivel’s fight against childhood cancer has instilled a new sense of perspective in many of his college-aged friends, he said.

“It’s easy to get caught in a routine and not understand there’s so much more to life than just making money [and] finding a job,” Weiss explained. “It’s just a reminder that there’s so much more… and that’s the number one goal; to help each other and lean on each other during tough times.”


Neighbors stunned by shooting in ‘safe,’ ‘quiet’ Eagles Watch subdivision

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH ) — The Eagles Watch subdivision on the city’s northwest side is home to dozens of families.

“It’s very quiet here,” said Irma Molina, who lives on Eagles Watch Drive.

The winding road is often touted as an oasis of safety, seemingly removed from the city’s crime crisis, according to Jeremy Layly, who lives down the street from Molina.

He walks his dogs through the neighborhood every night without worrying about what he’ll encounter in the dark.

On Thursday night, his walk led him toward flashing police lights and crime scene tape. 

Detectives were collecting evidence from the scene of a shooting in the 5000 block of Eagles Watch Drive, less than a quarter of a mile from Layly’s home.

“I’ve heard gunshots [before] but not in the neighborhood,” he told News 8. “That’s intense.”

Officers arrived around 4 p.m. after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. An unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests had been made Thursday night. No suspect information was available.

The shooting appeared to be targeted and did not pose an immediate threat to public safety, police said.

“[Detectives are] working hard to solve these crimes and to prevent crimes,” said Michael Hewitt, a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

Molina, whose home was within the police perimeter, ducked under the yellow tape to speak with News 8.

She and her son still feel safe living on Eagles Creek Drive, she said, but she is wary of rising crime in other parts of the city.

“It is very dangerous lately,” Molina said in Spanish. “Many crimes have happened.”

Anybody with information about the shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.