Odds were against Nora Gooden turning two

East Knoxville, Tenn (WVLT) -- Most parents will tell you that first birthdays, becoming a teenager at age 13, and then turning 18, a young adult, are major milestones to celebrate.

But for one East Knoxville family, seeing their daughter turn two is huge, and encouraging news.

Nora Gooden's second birthday celebration is one her family will always cherish.

Her mother, Jaime Gooden says, "90 percent of SMA kids don't make it to two 2, so we have now entered that elite category of children of ten percent who make it past the two mark. So it is a huge milestone for us."

Nora's favorite celebrity, Mini Mouse even made a surprise appearance at her party on Sunday.

Mom says, "Nora just lit up. It was priceless."

Because the genetic disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy stripped her of muscle movement, nora cannot talk, hug or even wave at her new friend.

"She had the movement in her arms and she could still hold books and toys, light ones, but she lost that some time in October, so now pretty much the only movement she has is in her face and head movement, Jaime says."

Nora now plays and learns like a two year old in an adaptive way with an ipad, and arm slings her mom jaime invented.

Tj gooden says, "We have a system where she can still kind of regain what she has lost with her arms and her hands a little bit. The arm slings have made a world of difference a big impact, it's the only thing she can move with outside of water."

The Goodens pray for a healthy year and a third birthday, but more immediately, visiting Nora's favorite gal pal, Mini Mouse on her turf- during the national SMA conference in the spring.

TJ says, "With SMA, that is about as far as you can look ahead. So, you just focus on a close target, that's what you shoot form, and for us, it's all about Disney now."

You can check out the Gooden's new website for more information on SMA and the slings Jaime invented.
Grab a link at the bottom of this page.

*****A special thanks to "Character Impressions," a local business that sent Mini Mouse over to the Gooden's celebration for Nora.


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  • by Nurse Kim Location: Knoxville on Jan 28, 2011 at 05:25 PM
    I am Nora's private duty nurse.And you can reach the Gooden family at: The "Contact Us" tab the the top of www.goodentree.com or The "Contact Us" tab at the bottom of www.insidesma.com
  • by Cyndi Location: Creech on Jan 27, 2011 at 03:13 PM
    The family's website is goodentree.com
  • by Michele Location: Wisconsin on Jan 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM
    Happy 2nd Birthday Nora!! What a beautiful story. Sending prayers your way.
  • by Philip Location: North Knox on Jan 26, 2011 at 06:01 AM
    I don't have a link showing on my phone. I use the WATE app and there is no way for us to get in touch with this family. We would like to send this family a gift or maybe help with their Disney World trip. We were in the first stages of planning our own trip to take our 4 year old little boy to see Mickey, but when we explained about this family's situation, he said he didn't mind waiting a little longer if we could help Nora. Please ask the family if you can post an address as we are sure we are not the only family in Knoxville that wants to try to lift Nora's spirits.

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