The lasting legacy that Noah Costa gave to those around him was a sense of fun and adventure and a willingness to share that free-wheeling spirit with others.
The seventh annual Noah's Gift 5K Memorial Run-Walk-Skate is set for Oct. 14 in the streets and neighborhoods surrounding the Maddox Foundation's spacious headquarters on Commerce Street.
The event benefits the Noah's Gift Endowed Fund, which was established in the memory of Noah Costa, who passed away at the age of 16 in 2010. Noah's Gift Endowed Fund is housed at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.
The event benefits scholarships for teenagers, aged 13-19. The deadline has been extended for scholarship application until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13.
"Noah was adventuresome, athletic and had a big heart," said Glenda Gurley, Grants and Programs Coordinator with the Maddox Foundation in Hernando.
So far more than 130 people have signed up to take part in the run-walk-skate event.
The race will begin and end at the Maddox Foundation, 180 West Commerce Street in Hernando. Parking will not be available on-site but there is plenty of parking in the surrounding area.
There will be fun and games and other activities, along with a rock climbing wall.
Robin Costa Hurdle, Noah's mom, said Noah's Gift has helped to transform the lives of young people and their families.
"I get letters from families and teens who say it has changed their lives," Hurdle said. "It's been amazing. The first year, it took me months to write 400 thank-you notes. Each year, I think this is going to be the year when I don't cry."
Noah Costa, who grew up in Hernando and attended Hernando Middle School, was a junior at Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, Fla., and a defenseman in the Midget U-18AA in the Florida Junior Everblades Hockey Program. He was graduate of the Sanibel School, the Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, and Hernando Middle School. During his young life, he was active in youth hockey with both the Junior RiverKings and Junior StreetKings while at HMS.
Hurdle said her son had a special zest for life, which in addition to hockey and skating, enjoyed skim boarding, surfing, fishing, hiking, shooting, white water rafting, parasailing, rock climbing, sky diving and "all things extreme and outdoors."
It's that same sense of adventure that has granted scholarships to a grant applicant who went on to receive an Eileen Ford Modeling internship and who later graced the cover of "Southern Brides" magazine; a student who was able to study abroad in Amsterdam, London and Italy; to scholarship winners who enjoyed a back country snowboarding adventure in Colorado and a young applicant who was able to restore his 1973 Ford pickup with his grandfather.
"It's really amazing to see the kids who have graduated from Noah's programs and given back to their communities," Hurdle said.
Hurdle said she is constantly made aware of the impact that Noah's young life had on the greater DeSoto County community.
"I've been continually overwhelmed by the community's support and by the teenagers and their families who get the grants," Hurdle said.
It's a way of keeping her son's spirit alive, said Hurdle.
"When the priest came to me that morning to talk to me, he said, 'tell me about Noah'," Hurdle said, referring to the immediate aftermath of her son's passing. "I said he was always so grateful for everything. If I made him a ham sandwich, he was grateful. It (Noah's Gift) lifts me up. It's grown much more than I ever imagined."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.