Meet the Noblitt Family!
Brian and Kathleen Noblitt are parents to three outdoorsy, sport loving boys: 10-year-old Brady, 6-year-old Brandon and 4-year-old Benson. They describe themselves as a family unit and work hard to stay connected.
Late last year, their family faced a new challenge. One morning in August, Brandon woke up with paralysis through the entire right side of his body. Many tests and hospital stays later, he was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM); a rare neurological illness that causes a range of paralysis in children. Often sudden in its onset, AFM is thought to stem from a virus that affects the spinal cord.
When first diagnosed, Brandon and his family stayed at a Ronald McDonald House in Greenville, South Carolina close to their home. In September, Brandon was sent to an inpatient rehab program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. After completing the inpatient program, Brandon was transferred in late October to our House near Scottish Rite to attend a day rehab program. When he first arrived, he fell in love with our House’s playground tree house and the activity room. Brian, Brandon’s dad, describes a typical day for them:
“In the House, one of our favorite things to do after getting home from long day of therapy is go to the Coke machine and get a good Coke product for 25 cents. Then we go to the outdoor patio and chill out with a cookie or treat from the kitchen. It’s become one of our rituals, just to decompress. We also play video games together in the activity room. We are both pretty competitive and love playing against each other.”
Though these aren’t the circumstances he would have wished for, Brian feels that he has been able to spend more time, as father and son, with Brandon than ever before.
“Brandon has been a champ. He spends more time flirting with the nurses than complaining about his situation,” Brian said. “I am so proud of him and his attitude.”
While staying in our House, this duo gets to enjoy meals together, sleep in the same room at night and just slow down a little, which is all difficult at the hospital.
“Staying at the House matters a lot in terms of your sanity… in terms of feeling normal,” Brian said. “That’s what it is all about; trying to feel normal during this incredibly tough time. Our family has become closer through this, especially my wife and I. It’s going to be a new normal, having a child in a wheelchair. However, staying at the House has brought us together while often times these situations can pull people apart.”
Though Brandon and his family don’t yet know if his paralysis will resolve, they are thankful to spend time with each other at our House and for the care our team provides their family. Their motto is “One day at a time.”
Though we never want to be needed, we are happy to be the Noblitt’s “home-away-from-home” during a critical time in their lives. Because of our House, they’re able to focus on what truly matters: the health of their child.