By Kate Moore @kitmoore

INSPIRING college student born without arms creates art using his feet.

Scroll down for the full story

Shot by: Neal Ten Eyck

Producer: Kate Moore, Ruby Coote

Editor: Thom Johnson

Noah Howard is like any other 19-year-old sophomore college student in New York, living with his roommate and enjoying a more independent way of life away from home.

However, he surprises many of his classmates when he meets them and they find out that he doesn’t have arms.

Noah explained to Truly: “I tell people that I can dress myself, that's pretty much where people are most shocked - they're like: 'How do you button, how do you zip?'

“There's not really a concrete answer as to why I don't have arms. 

“I also have scoliosis; I've had many back surgeries throughout my entire childhood.”

Noah lives with best friend Anderson, who treats him like any other roommate would.

Anderson told Truly: “It’s just like living with any other guy.

“It’s especially fun because it's my best friend, and not a lot of people get to say that they live with their best friend.”

He admires the way Noah positively navigates his way through life.

“There's a lot that goes into [his] daily life that people don't have to worry about when they have arms, stuff that I don't have to worry about," Anderson continued. 

“I admire [Noah] for being able to handle those things.”

Noah is enjoying his college experience now and finding acceptance with other students, but socialising was a lot more difficult in his younger years.

“School wasn’t a happy place for me, it was a very bad place actually," he said. 

“Being born without arms, being born different in any way, I think is a really lonely experience.

“I didn't have a lot of friends, I was bullied.”

As the bullying grew more intense Noah’s mental health worsened.

He said: “I was completely knocked down, thinking about suicide, I felt like I had nobody to even try to understand what I was going through.”

To get through these challenging times, Noah found solace in other areas of his life.

“That's probably when my art really took off," he said.

“In those dark moments it kept my mind busy.

“I could work on a painting for hours and not have to think about anything else.

“It’s a lot easier to go home and sit on the couch and wallow, but I'm not going to do that.”

He has taken that passion into his adult life and now studies the subject at college.  

Noah recently attended one of his classes, showing how he uses his feet to do what he loves.

He’s learned to make the people around him comfortable if they are initially surprised by what he’s doing.

“It’s not every day that you see someone pick up a pencil with your feet and draw," Noah said.

“Most people are really shocked when they see me do anything with my feet.

“I understand why it's shocking, but I make them realise that it's okay.

“You can talk to me like, I'm just like you - I'm not an alien.”

After the class, Noah reflected on the hurdles he’s had to overcome in life.

He said: "I would say that I've definitely come a long way.

“When I was little, a lot of people doubted me, but it definitely empowered me to want to make a difference for myself and prove them wrong.

“I was born like this for a reason.

“Like in art after all the dirty lines, you make this masterpiece.

“Right now, I'm just going through all the dirty lines of life, and one day I'll get to that masterpiece.”