RICHMOND, Va. — Nora Trotman from Mechanicsville lives a carefree life.
“I wish I had her energy,” said her father Ron Trotman.
Her most important task on this day is playtime with sister Olivia at her back. Fun is serious business for this five-year-old.
Little Nora beams. In fact, her name means light.
“She is just very genuine and you can see in her eyes how happy she is. Her smile is just all over her face,” said her mom Katie Trotman.
But three years ago, darkness blanketed the little girl and her family.
“I’ll never forget. June 21st, 2020,” said Katie.
During a friend’s cookout, Nora went missing. Her parents Katie and Ron search for several agonizing minutes.
“I heard a voice in my head that said, ‘Where’s Nora. You have to check the pool,” said Katie. “That is when she was found face down floating in the pool. He actually had to pull her out.”
It was Father’s Day.
“I could literally feel the water in her body,” explained Ron.
Nora was given CPR until first responders arrived.
“I literally broke down. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t see her like that. Her eyes were rolled back. She wasn’t breathing,” Ron recalled.
She was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. She goes 12 minutes without a heartbeat. Chances of Nora surviving are slim.
“I knew it was bad but I didn’t want to believe it you know,” said Katie.
Doctors and nurses save her life. Nine days later, Nora makes a miraculous recovery.
“Everything was so uncertain at that time you know,” said Ron.
Nora’s grateful parents also credit another group of professionals with helping their daughter heal during her 17-day stay.
Heather Rossi is one of 12 Child Life Specialists who has been helping young patients like Nora adjust, cope and thrive using activities and toys for 25 years.
“Our goal is to normalize this environment as much as we can,” said Rossi. “Our job in the hospital is to help people always see it through the child’s perspective. Always see it from the parents perspective. Because it isn’t about us. It’s about them.”
Nora’s mom Katie said the Child Life team were angels when she needed a shoulder to lean on.
“She is not even their kid and they loved on her like she was there own,” described Katie. “They would literally do anything for me. They would do anything to make my day easier or better.”
“The team definitely helped speed up her process of healing,” said Ron.
Bethany Fisackerly is the Child Life Team Supervisor.
“We want to make sure that we’re promoting normal development even when they’re confined in the hospital,” explained Fisackerly. “If for just a moment we can lighten that load that is all we can ask and we are very blessed to have the opportunity to do that.”
“I would say 100% dedicated. You say 100%, I would say above and beyond dedicated.”
As we approach the third anniversary, Nora Trotman’s near-drowning is receding further into the past.
She is a five-year-old survivor whose joy and laughter radiate.
“You’ve got to put on sunglasses. The darkest sunglasses because she is that light. She is!”
Since her accident, Nora has completed Swim Survival training.
She is also the 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Ambassador for the CHildren’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
The new tower at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU opens in late April of 2023.
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