Last week, we lost a close friend and fearless advocate. Our dear friend Nathalia passed away peacefully in her home on April 19 surrounded by her family. She was 15 years old.
Nat was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer, in July of 2016 when she was just 12. When we were introduced to her in 2017, we met a girl wise beyond her years and determined to leave the world better than she found it. Her incredible wisdom and love for others, especially her mom, Katy, and her sister, Gabi, was infectious.
Ever since Nat’s diagnosis, she made it her mission to advocate for more research and better treatments for kids like her. She participated in the KS95 for Kids Radiothon, where her story inspired people across the state of Minnesota to support childhood cancer research. She served as an ambassador in CCRF’s event Great Cycle Challenge, where she and her family graciously let thousands of riders into their lives to inspire them with her story of strength. Nat shared how she preferred to talk about her cancer as not a fight, but a journey, and how she hoped to use her story to make that journey easier for every other child with cancer.
Nat never missed an opportunity to give back to the people and places who cared for her during her nearly three years of cancer treatment. She always had a passion for art and design – creative art projects always brightened her long hospital stays. In March this year, Nat asked GCC riders across the country to donate art supplies to local hospitals in her name, to bring smiles to the faces of other kids like her. Nat even served as an unofficial mentor to the other kids she met during her hospital stays who were undergoing their own cancer treatment. We will never forget her enduring generosity and selflessness.
Nat’s impact on us, as well as countless doctors, nurses, researchers and friends is immeasurable. She will live on in the memories of everyone who loved and was inspired by her.
We are incredibly grateful for Nat’s determination to raise awareness for childhood cancer research by sharing her story with us. We will miss her dearly.
Please join us in sending thoughts to her family and loved ones during this difficult time.