ELK GROVE — A few years ago, a young Elk Grove father turned to social media to fundraise for a family friend whose son needed a heart transplant.
As someone who steps up when others are in need, Joshua Noel is pretty uncomfortable with asking for help but that’s just where he finds himself as he tries to fund a therapy he needs after a devastating car crash.
“We have Doug Christie, we have Vlade Divac, Mike Bibby, Scott Pollard and then Peja Stojakovic,” said Noel, pointing to a prized 2002 Sacramento Kings bobbleheads.
He worked hard to collect the first bobblehead set of the Sacramento Kings’ star team, but now he’s working hard to get rid of it for his team — his wife, toddler daughter and baby on the way.
“There’s like the fear there that because of not knowing if I’m going to be able to do certain things with the girls when they get older,” he said. “I could wake up one day and be paralyzed.”
That’s one of the frightening possibilities Noel’s been confronted with since an accident two years ago in midtown Sacramento.
“This kid blew a stop sign. He was texting and driving,” Noel said. “So basically I was in a situation where I could drive into somebody’s house, hit a tree head-on or let him hit me.”
Noel had no idea that being hit that day would lead to protruding discs compromising nerves in his back, multiple surgeries and constant, intense pain.
“Pretty much like a living nightmare,” he said. “My little girl, Leilani, she likes it when I carry her up and down the stairs and that’s like the hardest part.”
For a chance at being free of all that, Noel is counting on sales of this bobbly starting line up to be part of his starting line up covering the cost for stem cell therapy.
Doctors have told him it could regenerate damaged discs, helping him recover enough function to return to his managerial job of 22 years and be the father he wants to be.
He has a center that will perform the procedure and once his second daughter is born… a ready supply of stem cells from her umbilical cord.
But… since this kind of therapy for pain is not approved by the FDA, insurance won’t pay for it.
The pair is number 604 out of just 1,000 sets made.
“Definitely going to be hard to let them go for the right price, but at the end of the day if it has the ability to change my life and give me my life back with my wife and my girls,” Noel told FOX40. “That’s priceless.”