“You’re going to love this girl, she just skips through life!”
That’s how Natalie’s 1st grade teacher described her to a colleague and it epitomizes our little girl.
Natalie came into our lives in 2004 with a contagious smile on her face that never seemed to leave. As she grew up, she became a talented artist, tenacious athlete and a steadfast friend to all. Through painting, drawing, sculpting or anything else, Natalie had a way of turning whatever she could get her hands on into her own works of art. In softball and soccer, she may never have been the biggest or the strongest, but no one worked harder. Above all, however, her best quality was how she treated others. Her kind heart wouldn’t let anyone feel left out, less than or unloved.
Cancer is a word no one ever wants to hear. It’s even worse when a doctor says it about your child.
Natalie was diagnosed on Sunday, August 26, 2012, with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare, inoperable malignant tumor located in the brainstem. Despite her circumstances, Natalie showed determination, strength, and a positive attitude that inspired us every day. She fought courageously for 8 months, but Natalie’s body became exhausted and could no longer battle the cancer. Just a few months before her 9th birthday, Natalie Fleischaker earned her angel wings.
Although her life on earth was all too short, she taught everyone how to maintain hope in the face of adversity, the importance of being kind to others no matter what and, most of all, how to love.
With this in mind, we established Natalie’s A.R.T. Foundation to aid others and fight for a cure for DIPG. Natalie’s courage, compassion and graceful spirit leads the way.