In 2010, Doctors diagnosed then five year old Noelle Gregoire with dysplastic spondylolisthesis. For three years, she wore a rigid back brace and couldn't participate in physical education, recess, or even ride a bike. It was a very difficult time, but she remained consistently positive. She found ways to keep herself busy with sewing, piano, and reading. In the summer of 2013, her doctor said her condition stabilized enough so she can do some physical activity and slowly wean from the brace.
In October 2013, Noelle began swimming and loved every moment of it. In July of 2014, she made her first Laps 4 Backs swim 1.5 miles across Province Lake in East Wakefield, New Hampshire. Over the course of 2014/2015, her condition deteriorated. In 2015, she wore a back brace to stabilize her spine again, but she could keep swimming. Somehow, she managed to make the swim across the Province Lake again in July of 2015.
Shortly after her swim, Noelle started experiencing constant leg pain, numbness and tingling, and loss of function in her legs. She started using a wheelchair for moving longer distances, but continued smiling the whole time. In October 2015, her doctor said that waiting any longer was not an option.
She underwent spine surgery the next month to rebuild the L4 and L5 vertebrae. She was an incredible patient, smiling and never complaining. She was excited about the surgery making her over an inch taller!
She is 16 years old now and is a junior in high school. As of November 2021, she will not need another back surgery.