Nicole and Jayden #iBeatTheOdds Spotlight 

His mother said that he came home totally dependent on the ventilator. Doctors told the family that Jayden would be immobile until after the age of three. At two, Jayden began sitting up and by his third birthday he was crawling.

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At 21 doctors told Elder Nicole Noel that she would not be able to have children because she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease. Not only did Nicole give birth, her and her husband Elder Joseph Noel are the proud parents of three beautiful boys; 3-year-old Joshua, 5-year-old Jayden and 7-year-old Joey. The couple’s middle son Jayden was born seventeen weeks early at just 1 pound, 4 ounces. The doctors told the Noels that Jayden had a 20% chance of living. Three days after Jayden was born Elder Nicole was diagnosed with sepsis, pneumonia and ARDS. She was placed in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator for three weeks. Elder Nicole believes her husband’s faith and prayers kept her alive. “Doctors and nurses told me that when I was in the coma he would be sitting by the bedside reading his bible and he would go from my room in the critical care ICU to Jayden’s bedside in the NICU, visiting us both while taking care of Joey who was 2 and a half at the time,” said Nicole.

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Jayden remained in the hospital from March 10, 2011 until November 21, 2011. In June 2011, Jayden received a tracheostomy to assist with his breathing and a gastrointestinal tube to assist him with eating. His mother said that he came home totally dependent on the ventilator. Doctors told the family that Jayden would be immobile until after the age of three. At two, Jayden began sitting up and by his third birthday he was crawling. Jayden can now stand up by himself but has difficulty balancing while walking. He walks using a grate trainer and sometimes requires his wheel chair.

Despite suffering from COPD, asthma, restrictive lung disease and fibromyalgia, Elder Nicole feels blessed to be alive. “Before my illness I had a great job and had started school to obtain my bachelor’s. After my illness and when things calmed down, I had time to think about where God brought me from because most people that go on nitric oxide through the ventilator end up six feet under. I became content in where I am in life and I am just thankful to be alive to live each day with my husband and three boys,” says Nicole.

Jayden is currently enrolled in school at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU but will be attending school outside of the hospital in September. Since being enrolled in school at the children’s hospital Jayden’s been meeting all of his IEP goals. Jayden’s parents continue to advocate that he be placed in a mainstream classroom setting with regular students. Jayden’s mom believes her son has a ton of untapped potential. She says, “He’s too smart for me not to push him. He made the mistake of letting me see his potential so now I’m pushing him to it.” Elder Nicole said that although Jayden’s IEP has him in the 18 month to 24 month developmental range, he can read, count to ten and say his ABC’s. Jayden currently receives occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy at the Children’s Hospital.

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When I heard about Elder Nicole’s story, I wanted to make sure she received a copy of “Nelson Beats The Odds”. I was inspired by her and Jayden’s story. She shared the book with her boys and told me that Joey, Jayden’s older brother, wanted to become a doctor. Elder Nicole said that Joey wanted to become a doctor so that he could help his brother and children like him beat the odds. Thank you Elder Nicole for allowing me to share your family’s story and God bless you. Your story has truly blessed my life and I’m sure many others ‪#‎iBeatTheOdds‬ ‪#‎NBTO‬‪#‎NelsonBeatsTheOdds‬ ‪#‎ButGod‬

Author: Ronnie Sidney II, MSW

Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW, is a father, therapist, author, app developer, professional speaker, philanthropist and entrepreneur. He received a Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. Ronnie was raised in Tappahannock, Virginia, and attended Essex County Public Schools (ECPS). While attending ECPS, he spent several years in Special Education after being diagnosed with a learning disability. The stigmatization of special education created a lack of interest in school. With limited options regarding four-year colleges, he decided to enroll in J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia. The following year, he transferred to Old Dominion University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2006. Sidney has since published two books, "Nelson Beats the Odds" and "Tameka's New Dress". He also developed the Nelson Beats the Odds Comic Creator.

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