By Jenna Mink
He’s a huge politics buff. He’s into war movies and Civil War re-enactments.And he is on track to graduate in December 2008 despite his two serious battles: a hearing impairment and three kidney transplants.
Chadwick Noel, a junior history major, received his third kidney transplant in the fall.
“I’ve come through hard times and made it through,” Noel said.
He was born prematurely and his kidneys did not have time to fully develop. At 18 months old, Noel received his first kidney transplant from a donor.
But, while Noel grew, his kidney did not. When he was four, he had to undergo another kidney transplant. This time, Noel’s father was the donor.
And, as the second kidney began to stop functioning, Noel was checked into the hospital again. The date was Oct. 26, 2006, and the third kidney came from his mom.
Noel, who had completed several semesters of college, took a break last semester to take care of his health.
“It’s like being a baby again,” Noel said about healing after a transplant surgery. “You have to learn to walk again.”
But Noel is back this semester and his kidney is functioning. He said the doctors expect Noel to live a full life with this kidney.
Still, this medical hurdle is not the only obstacle Noel faces.
When Noel was young, the medicine he was taking caused him to partially lose his hearing.
Noel, who wears a hearing aid in each ear, said he can hear “pretty good.” Interpreters aid him during his lecture classes.
“Some teachers talk too fast and it’s hard to understand,” Noel said.
But he’s not complaining.
“I like the challenge,” Noel said. “Most deaf kids don’t go to college, but some do.”
And Noel is doing more than taking classes.
For example, he participated in this year’s “Spring Fling,” a festival held at the Danville campus. Noel dressed up as Franklin Roosevelt and gave the Pearl Harbor address.
But, the history buff said Roosevelt is not his favorite president. That title belongs to Abraham Lincoln, whose entire history Noel has memorized.
So, it’s fitting that Noel is also enjoys studying the Civil War era.
Noel participates in several Civil War re-enactments across the state. His role of infantry officer for the Union requires good aim and an accurate trigger finger.
“If it was actual fighting, I would have been dead a long time ago,” Noel said.
But, when he’s not studying or fighting at Gettysburg, Noel likes to hang out at the mall or, despite his hearing loss, listen to music. Some of his favorite artists include The Bee Gees, Garth Brooks, Ricky Nelson and Britney Spears.
“I don’t care if she’s bald-headed,” Noel said. “I just like some of her music.”
Reach Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org