Ten-year-old “Miracle Kid” Noelle Mikels was en route for a long-awaited lung transplant at a Pittsburgh hospital last week when an urgent cell phone message advised her parents to turn back – the transplant wasn’t a match.
How long has her daughter been awaiting the life-saving organ transplant?
“Two hundred and sixty days,” chipped in Noelle as I talked to her mother, Stacie, who explained that Noelle was born prematurely. Her lungs never developed, she said, to where they could cope and Noelle has been constantly on oxygen to survive for the entire past decade.
There are high points and low points in this Front Royal youngster’s fight for life. The phone call from her medical team was a low point.
Two days later (Sept. 14) proved to be a high point. Instead of lying in a distant hospital bed, Noelle was with her mother at a Front Royal Rotary Club meeting, surprised and delighted by the presentation of a $4,297 check to help with Noelle’s considerable expenses, only partly covered by health insurance. Public donations to the “Miracle Kid’s” family so far amount to about $40,000 for which the parents express great gratitude.
Stacey refers to her daughter as “my hero, my angel” and Noelle responds with a happy disposition and straight “As” as a 5th-grade student. Warren County schools provide Noelle with a teacher, “Miss Joyce,” who visits her Shenandoah Farms home three days a week. Noelle is the second of two children born to Ross and Stacie Mikels since arriving in Front Royal in 2005. The other is their son, Andon, age 12.
Ross works in Sterling, VA, at Superior Iron Works and is given the time off he needs to tend his daughter. Stacey works locally for “Moms in Motion,” which advocates for people with disabilities.
When Noelle’s turn comes for her surgery – she was listed for the transplant last December, or as she puts it, “260 days ago” – she will spend three months at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital before discharge into an otherwise typical life of a 10–year-old youngster with an A-level scholastic average.
“She looks forward to that,” said her mother.
She’s a “Miracle Kid.” .