Weeks after the accident, there was hope because Natalie could move her big toe. Last April, there was hope because she took steps unassisted. Now, there is hope because she doesn’t need people to help her as she walks with a walker.
Her progress is noted on a big chalkboard inside Project Walk, which reads, “3/8 — Natalie took 230 steps with arm walker, unassisted.”
“My goal is to walk without any assistance, any walker or anything like that,” Natalie said. “We’re working on it. Balance is an issue, but you know, it’s a process and we’re on the right track. It’s only going to get better from here.”
No one who knows her would expect her to say anything different. That’s just her “Nattitude,” which is her slogan. It will also be the name of the book she plans to write about her experience.
The chapters keep coming. Earlier this year, Natalie returned to school, where she is a teacher’s aide for Edison softball Coach Kendra Rosales. About 10:20 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, she’s met in the front of the school by her best friend, senior Erika Longoria, and they head to class together.
“She has this way of lighting up people’s faces when they see her,” Longoria said. “She’s just been the most optimistic person I know about the whole situation. It really makes you believe it, too, because she knows she can. It seems like every time I see her, there’s something new she can do.”
Natalie plans to go to Edison’s prom Saturday, and her goal continues to be to walk across the stage to get her diploma at graduation in June.