Natalie Flora

    A few weeks ago, I took some pictures of my sister-in-law and her six-year-old daughter, Natalie.  My favorites are the pictures of her swinging and laughing. They show life and energy, something Natalie was too close to losing.  Last fall, Natalie spent over three weeks in the intensive care unit of Primary Children's Hospital. After six years of struggling to fight an auto-immune disease and a number of blood transfusions and hospital stays, Natalie went through the first of a series of chemotherapy treatments with the hope that she could have a normal childhood and be healed from her condition.  At the time of her first treatment, however, Natalie had been harboring a case of pneumonia and contracted the Swine Flu a few days later.  With countless tubes and machines surrounding her tiny little body, she lay quiet and still in the ICU for almost a month.  Every day someone from her family surrounded her bedside, saying silent prayers, reading her stories, singing her songs, and talking to her with nothing but the sound of her respirator for an audible response.  

    Thanks to countless prayers and the diligent work of doctors, today Natalie is happy, energetic, and she loves to laugh.  All day she is running around, playing with her younger brothers and exploring the capabilities of her healing body.  Her story is a miracle, and her little smile shows it.

These are some pictures I took the day she went home from the hospital.

And this is Natalie today.  My husband Jake and I took these pictures of Natalie and her family for Parent Magazine.  They are doing a story on Natalie for an upcoming issue.


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