Cheryle Noble takes seat on Bonney Lake City Council
April 30, 2009 · Updated 4:17 PM
By Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald
"When I was a little girl we lived in public housing. One of my first memories was my mother and stepfather organizing a protest over a rate increase. I was about 6 and I remember learning what the word effigy meant," Bonney Lake Councilwoman Cheryle Noble said with a laugh.
Noble's political activities started early and continue today. After the ratification of the election results on Nov. 19, Noble assumed her first elected office as city councilwoman for Bonney Lake's Ward 3. She has served on the council since April in the at-large seat she was appointed to by the council.
"I have respect for every one of the council members," Noble said. "We work well together. We're playing catch-up with the development and growth, but all of us want to come together as a community and build a town we can be proud of."
Noble spent many years honing her political skills while she lived in Kent. A high point in her community and political activity came when she helped organize (and was president of) Citizens Against Proposed Site, CAPS. the The group fought building of the Regional Justice Center at its site in Kent and, while the group eventually lost its battle, the fight helped define Noble's political mind.
"It was a phenomenal, wonderful group of people," Noble said. " My kids stood next to us and protested. It was amazing."
Politics and community activism have played an important role throughout Noble's life. But it was 14 years ago that she had to face with the fear and sadness that life can deal from its deck.
After she delivered her second child, "The doctor said take her home and love her. She's a normal, healthy baby," Noble recalls. "I knew something was wrong, just by the way he said it. I had a son, and I hoped I would get a daughter. I felt it was too good to be true."
At first, Chelsea appeared fine. The only anomaly was the curious spots on her skin. Maybe birth marks, maybe not.
It was seven months later that Cheryle and her husband Jim found out the truth. Their daughter had been born with a genetic birth defect known as neurofibromatosis. The disorder flips the tumor suppressant switch off in the genes and tumors begin growing along nerves and can appear anywhere in the body. The malady occurs once in every 4,000 births. Researchers report NF may be inherited or the illness may be a spontaneous mutation, a new occurrence in the family gene pool, for no apparent reason. This was the case with Chelsea.
"I went through a year of soul searching. Why me, why this?" Noble said. "After that time, I realized God chose our family to place Chelsea. She was going to be a special individual, and that has been very correct."
Noble went to work as an advocate for her daughter. There would be countless trips to doctors and specialists and hospitals. She would have to struggle with the schools to make certain her daughter was placed in the proper classes. Noble joined and eventually became president of the Washington Chapter of the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation, serving on the board of that organization for the last 10 years.
When Chelsea was 5, she contracted rhabdomyosarcoma, a muscle cancer, on her leg. Noble and her husband decided on an experimental chemotherapy because of the complications with their daughter's NF. The tumor was destroyed and she has been in remission for eight years.
Although her medical problems persist, today Chelsea is a bright, happy 14-year-old girl.
"She's my hero," Noble said. "I will never measure up to this young woman. She reminds me daily how precious life is."
Dennis Box can be reached at email@example.com