Noah Rybak has come home.
Last month, shortly before his twelfth birthday, Noah was injured in a serious sledding accident that led to treatment at Hackensack University Medical Center. A few days later, he was transferred to Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick.
Now, he’s back at home in Oradell — but Oradell changed in his absence.
It rallied to his support, under the slogan of “Team Noah,” a reference to the boy’s love of sports and particularly, the New York Mets.
A Facebook group, “Team Noah,” drew nearly 750 members.
A GoFundMe page “to raise some funds to assist the family with uncovered and/or unforeseen expenses so that they can focus solely on his healing and recovery” drew 835 donors and is just shy of its $80,000 fundraising goal.
Two hundred lawn “Team Noah” lawn signs were sold, to help the family raise money.
Kids went to all the businesses in town, asking them to put up “#Team Noah” signs, and most did.
The concern for Noah extended far past New Jersey.
In Florida, the Mets posted a sign on the display in the stadium where they are training: “We are Team Noah.”
This week, with Noah’s return, he was greeted with a giant sign on his front lawn, spelling out, “WELCOME HOME. YOU’VE GOT THIS!” in giant letters with stars and hearts.
In the Facebook group, Noah’s father, Chaim Rybak, expressed his gratitude for the community effort.
“We would like to particularly thank all the people of the Town of Oradell for rallying around Noah and our family,” he wrote. “The people of this town have embraced us like family during the hardest time of our lives.
“Our resolve, our strength and our will were all pushed to the limit. Throughout that time, Noah remained determined, happy and energized (if not uncomfortable and homesick at times), and saw each obstacle as another challenge to overcome. His positive attitude has set the tone during this process.
“We cannot say enough about all the continued support from everyone on ‘Team Noah’ and beyond,” he wrote. “It is impossible to overstate the impact your words, your kind gestures, and the numerous acts of good will have had on Noah’s recovery and our spirits. Please know that, as Noah returns home for the next steps on his and our path, our hearts are filled with gratitude to have all of you, and everyone else who has supported our family, with us on that journey.”