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Annual kidney walk hits home for Hampton Roads resident

By Jordan Crawford | 6/5/2013, 2:59 p.m.
The Annual Hampton Roads Kidney Walk brought together individuals who know the effects of kidney disease and the need for ...
Helen Noel (second from the left) and her brother (on the far right) are shown here with their brother, sister and mom.

Recovery from surgery can be long and painful. Noel describes her recovery as being “nothing short of miraculous.” Despite being told she would have to remain in Ohio for three weeks due to a follow-up, Noel was able to walk again the night after surgery, only experiencing slight irritation from lying in her hospital bed. She returned to her mother’s home the fourth day after surgery and came home to Virginia three days shy of her three week recovery period. Nelson, her brother, left the hospital on the fifth day.

Health officials believe up to a million individuals were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Marines learned of the contamination in the early 1980s, but the drinking wells remained open until much later in the decade.

In August 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act, providing medical care for Navy and Marine veterans and their family members who were affected by the contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Ask Noel if her decision to donate her kidney to her brother was a tough one made with hesitancy and she will boldly, but quietly respond, “Not at all. Blood is thicker than water,” a personal mantra she and the rest of her family follow. “If you can’t help out your fellow man, then what good are you,” asked Noel with a kind, but inquisitive look on her face.