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Jean Nored

Ms. Nored and her husband, William Nored Sr., adopted Bill when he was three and a half months old.  At 18-months-old, Bill had his first grand mal seizure, and he began having seizures constantly, sometimes hundreds of times a day. Bill was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s Syndrome, a rare disorder of the central nervous system that was causing deterioration of the right side of his brain. When Bill was around 10 years old, the deterioration started moving to the left side of his brain. Ms. Nored knew she needed to find help, or her son would not be able to survive into adulthood.

Ms. Nored experienced several barriers in accessing the medical interventions necessary for her son’s survival. One doctor told her that there was no hope in saving Bill. She asked the doctor if he had personally met her son.  Upon learning that the doctor had only reviewed Bill’s medical file, she grabbed the doctor’s hand and said, “Before you bury him, you should meet him.” The doctor walked into the hospital room, where Bill was sitting on his bed reading a book.  Ms. Nored remembers the doctor asking where her son was because he couldn’t believe that Bill was able to read given his significant brain damage, “And I said right there, that is the young man you just sentenced to death.”

When Bill was 14, he underwent a complicated brain surgery. The operation was successful and completely stopped the seizures.  The surgery has allowed Bill to grow up in relative health, capable of leading a productive and meaningful life; however, his health complications and experiences during childhood caused some lasting medical conditions. Ms. Nored believes that, with a little bit of support, Bill’s health conditions shouldn’t have any effect on his ability to live a full life. In 2013, Bill enrolled in the DIDD Waiver program and gained access to supports that provided opportunities for more community interaction and independence.

After years of being on the program, Bill was receiving care in his own home when his DIDD support coordinator became unable to locate a provider agency that could meet his needs. Bill had to move back into his parent’s home. For over two years now, Ms. Nored has been fighting to find a care provider who can support Bill in the community and in meeting his other life goals. Despite her own deteriorating health, she continues to try every way she can to make sure Bill has a good and comfortable life. She hopes that, through this nomination and the telling of her family’s story, “Someone may recognize that this is a broken situation and people are suffering.”

It is amazing to witness Ms. Nored’s tirelessness in advocating for her son. She stated that this is inspired by the perseverance and strength that Bill showed during his early childhood. Ms. Nored believes that her son, and other individuals like him, “Should not be denied life because of a disability.”

The Tennessee Justice Center is proud to recognize Ms. Nored’s unwavering fight for justice and her strength of spirit this Mother’s Day.

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