Community comes together for Noelle Mikels

Noelle Mikels’ spirits, as well as those of family members and friends, have been lifted by support from the community as the 9-year-old Front Royal girl awaits a double lung transplant.

Her mother, Staci Mikels, said students and teachers at Noelle’s school, Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School in Front Royal, held a fundraiser to help Noelle’s cause and cover the family’s costs.  The out-of-pocket costs will be over $60,000.

Through Children’s Organ Transplant Association,  Mikels learned that when Noelle gets new lungs, she may not qualify for Medicaid,  “which pays for a majority of the expenses, but won’t cover everything.” If that should happen, any funds raised will help cover medical expenses, health premiums, and medications. It will also aid in transportation costs.

After the transplant at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Noelle will have to spend three months there, where she will be monitored and evaluated to make sure her body doesn’t reject the lungs. After three months, Noelle will return home but will have to travel to Pittsburgh once a month.

“Through COTA, we’re looking to raise money in honor of Noelle to help with lung transplant-related expenses,” Mikels said. “The funds will be used throughout the rest of her life.”

Katie Cantrell, Noelle’s day attendant, and Mikels also have organized several fundraisers to help raise money to cover costs.

Fundraisers included flamingo flocking, which involves Mikels and Cantrell covering the  lawns of homes or businesses with plastic pink flamingos. The “victims” must make a donation to the charity before the birds will be removed from their yards.  Other fundraising projects include paint night with local artist Kelly Walker and mini photo shoots for Valentine’s Day.

“We’re just trying to be as creative as we can,” Cantrell said. “We want people to enjoy helping Noey and know it’s for a good cause.”

To learn more about Noelle and her journey, visit her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/miraclekidnoelle or to donate visit www.COTAforNoelleM.com.

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