Starting on the right foot: Donations help Natalie walk

Natalie Gait Trainer

As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Two-year-old Natalie Cortes is beginning her lifelong journey with her first independent steps. Using therapy equipment purchased with funds from the Fairview Employee Giving Campaign, Natalie—and other kids like her—is learning to walk.

Natalie, a patient at Fairview Pediatric Rehab in Eagan, uses Theratogs, a special undergarment that promotes core stability. She also uses a gait trainer in which she can stand and “walk” while being fully supported. Both were purchased late last year with donations to Fairview’s Greatest needs fund, which is supported by employees and external donors. “This is a wonderful, visible demonstration of our employees’ generosity,” says Susan Jacobsen, Rehab Services Clinical Quality Liaison. “We can actually see how employee donations make a real difference to this little girl.”

Better, faster, stronger

Natalie was born prematurely at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in November 2011. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she has had numerous surgeries during her short life and has been in physical therapy since she was 9 months old. Currently, she goes twice a week: once with physical therapist Shannon Hagen at Fairview Pediatric Rehab in Eagan, and once to water therapy in Burnsville. Natalie’s mom, Kathy, says the therapy has made a world of difference for her daughter. “She’s stronger now,” Kathy says. “Before, she didn’t have a natural reflex to put her hand down when she would tip—she’d just fall over. Now, when she tips to the side, she’ll catch herself. And she goes to her hands and knees now, where she never did before.”

Interested in helping children like Natalie? Visit our Giving page for opportunities.

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