It gets proven over and over again in cases of natural disasters, accidents, and these days especially terrorism that people overwhelmingly show their true colors and go out of their way to support folks who have been affected by the unexpected calamity.
And since the recent moped accident that has changed her life forever, former Londonderry High multi-sport standout Noelle Lambert has been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for her.
The 2015 LHS graduate – who excelled in lacrosse, soccer, and basketball during her four years at the local high school – had to have the segment of her left leg below the knee amputated following a moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard during the early afternoon hours of Saturday, July 30. Her fellow University of Massachusetts at Lowell women’s lacrosse teammate Kelly Moran was also hurt in the accident but less seriously.
Lambert was driving the moped with Moran on board when the former Lady Lancer accidentally drifted onto the right shoulder of the road. Lambert tried to get back on the road, and in attempting that correction she made contact with the front left side of a dump truck traveling in the opposite direction that had nearly come to a complete stop.
She was medflighted to Boston Medical Center.
Moran, a Newfields resident who starred in lacrosse at Exeter High School, underwent surgery at a hospital on Martha’s Vineyard and then was later flown to a Boston hospital.
Both young women – who are slated to be sophomores at their Massachusetts university – are recovering from their injuries, and both have vowed to return to playing their sport at UMass-Lowell.
Lambert was deluged with messages on social media and with visitors to her Boston Medical Center room, once news of the accident spread, and the shows of love and support have continued.
“There were 40 to 50 people, every day, waiting to see me at Boston Medical. It was incredible, and it really took my mind off things,” she said.
The local remembers everything that happened during her accident, and it’s likely that the quick actions of several witnesses to the accident saved her life.
“The man driving behind me saw the whole thing happen, and he got out and took off his shirt and wrapped it around my leg,” said Lambert. “And there was also a nurse there who came and helped keep me calm.”
Lambert was in the Boston Medical Center – visited by the throngs of family members and friends – until the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 4, when she was transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, Mass. She spent a week at Spaulding before being released and coming home to Manchester, where she now lives.
“The goal at Spaulding was to try to get me to be able to do things on my own,” she said.
Lambert is fully aware that she faces a long and challenging road toward a hopeful return to playing lacrosse at UMass-Lowell, where she had an excellent freshman year for a new lax program.
That road will include waiting for the swelling in her leg to subside and then having the stitches removed at the very end of August. The lessening of the swelling is expected to take six to eight weeks, and then Lambert will have to choose a prosthesis.
“It stinks right now that I can’t do some things, but I have to take my time and not rush things,” she said a day after returning home to Manchester. “Yesterday I tried to do too much, and I need to rest and let myself heal.”
Where the emotional angle of the accident and her injury are concerned, Lambert has access to counselling and has a great, supportive listener in her mom, Judy. And then there are beloved friends like former Pinkerton Academy lacrosse star Maggie McCarthy and Lambert’s former fellow LHS student/athletes Sarah Bell and Alex Walter, along with so many others.
“Everyone I can think of has reached out, even people I haven’t heard from in years and elementary school friends. It’s just been incredible,” said Lambert.
The Londonderry High grad will continue to work toward a degree in criminal justice at UMass-Lowell this fall, and she has been told by the university’s athletic department that she can serve as a student-coach during the forthcoming spring lacrosse season.
Regarding her hopes of returning to the UMass-Lowell Lady River Hawks’ lacrosse team during the 2017-18 school year, LHS girls’ lacrosse coach Bob Slater and girls’ soccer coach Derek Dane – both of whom witnessed Lambert’s fiery nature and athletic drive for years – have both stated that if any of their former players could overcome the challenges which Lambert is facing and play college sports again, it’s her.
But the former Lady Lancer is working at not going too fast down the road to recovery, instead taking time to be thankful to be alive and for having so many loving folks supporting her.
“I owe a huge thank you to all of the people who have given me their support, even people who I never would have expected to hear from,” she said. “I’m at a loss for words about what to say to tell them how much it means to me.”