Noel Loves Photography (02:09)
Noel Ratapu feels like a normal teenager half of the time; the other half she sees only her disability. Noel was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type three. In her small town, there are only four teenagers in wheelchairs.
Alternative to Sports (03:06)
Noel will need surgery to straighten her spine. She started taking pictures when she was in grammar school. Shauna Ratapu describes how Noel expresses herself through photography.
Noel's Unexpected Diagnosis (02:43)
Noel is the youngest of three children. When she was 18 months old, her doctor diagnosed a neuromuscular disorder. As she got older, Noel adapted to the deterioration of her spine and muscles.
Noel's Social Abilities (02:03)
Noel was bullied, so she stopped attending school in the ninth grade. Noel avoids situations where she feels she might be judged; Shauna wants her to confront her fears about socialization.
Anxiety in Public Settings (03:17)
Noel does not mind being disabled, but being stared at bothers her. Shauna forces her to socialize. Noel enjoys using Facebook because there she is known for her photography, not her illness.
Living with Constant Pain (02:30)
Phillip explains that Noel needs more assistance than she used to because her abdominal muscles are weak. Dr. Martyn St. John discusses the upcoming surgery. Noel daydreams when doctors start talking to her about her condition.
Noel's Surgery Fears (02:40)
Noel worries a cure for her disease will be found and if she has the surgery, she will lose her chance at walking. Phillip has stepped back from doing everything for Noel.
Upcoming Surgery (02:17)
Shauna and Phillip reflect on the surgery. Shauna wants Noel to feel empowered by the surgery. Noel wishes her mother would stop worrying.
First Major Surgery (02:06)
Noel's surgery will take approximately 12 hours. Shauna receives a call the surgery went well. Noel recuperates and is discharged.
Noel's Recovery (01:47)
Shauna and Phillip wanted Noel to recuperate in a bright colorful house. Six weeks later, she is uncomfortable but the pain has diminished. Noel does not need the help of caregivers as much.
Noel's New Perspective (03:39)
Noel can stand longer and hula hoop. Shauna thinks Noel is happier and displays new confidence. Noel realizes she is not defined by her wheelchair, but recognizes it is a part of her.
Credits: Noel in Focus— Against the Odds (00:41)
Credits: Noel in Focus— Against the Odds
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