Carter Hoss is a goofy, caring, and fun-loving sixth grader. He has also raised over $1500 to benefit NF Midwest through participation in the organization’s annual Walk 4 NF event. Both aspects of Carter stem from his drive to constantly improve himself and the world around him, always on a mission to help however he can.
Carter first visited the Washington University NF Clinic Program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital as a toddler after his pediatrician referred him to Dr. David H. Gutmann. At this time, he received a diagnosis of NF1. Since then, Carter has been an enthusiastic participant in Club NF, the Washington University NF Center’s school-aged free therapy program – he has enjoyed going ice-skating and swimming in particular.
Carter prefers to be active and outside, playing baseball, basketball, soccer, and nerf games with his little brother. He always looks forward to fishing for catfish with his grandpa or baking with his grandma and has a particular passion for meeting new people and trying new things. He is a reliable friend to his classmates, often standing up for his peers in the face of bullying and serving as a go-to resource for anyone who needs a laugh. When Carter’s little brother was nervous for his first day of Kindergarten, Carter reassured him, wisely remarking that everyone has to start somewhere. His mom describes him as “ready to
defeat the world.”
It was that caring and go-getter attitude that spurred Carter’s participation in Walk 4 NF. Walk 4 NF is an annual fundraising event held in several Midwestern locations. Its mission is to end NF by funding research and raising awareness. Participants put together their own fundraising teams before coming together to walk, enjoy live music, hear speeches, and connect with other members of the NF community.
Carter’s team, called Carter’s Cardinals, first participated in Walk 4 NF in 2020. Though that event was virtual, Carter hugely enjoyed the strong sense of community and belonging it generated and was super excited to be featured in an official NF Midwest video played at the event’s conclusion.
For the 2021 Walk 4 NF, held in Columbia, MO, Carter increased his fundraising goal, motivated both by the opportunity to help the NF community and his ambition to outdo himself. Not only did Carter meet his goal, but he also won second place in fundraising overall, raising more than twice his original objective. Additionally, he interacted with over 200 people in the NF community – he loved talking with a diverse group of individuals affected by NF, especially those older than him, with wisdom to share. Carter’s parents particularly enjoyed talking to other parents of children with NF, exchanging stories and advice. Carter and his family are determined to continue their participation in Walk 4 NF for years to come – where Carter will focus on raising a little bit more every year.
For Carter and his family, the joy of participation in both Walk 4 NF, and Club NF comes from the sense of community present in these events and the feeling of accomplishment that they offer. Carter walks away knowing that he produced tangible change, that he actually did something, and that he is never alone in doing so. For these reasons, the Hoss family strongly encourages all families affected by NF to get involved, both in these events and in all others like them. As put by mother, Moriah, knowing that the money goes “toward something near and dear to our hearts” is the ultimate reward.