CHANDLER, AZ — What makes you different makes you beautiful. Ten-year-old cancer survivor Nataly Gutierrez feels the love of the community. Wednesday she was allowed to experience a princess day.
“Good morning!” exclaimed teachers from Bologna Elementary in Chandler.
Teachers greeted Nataly as she was dropped off and picked up from school in a limousine. Other children got to witness the big surprise.
“There was a lot of chocolate on my desk and there was a teddy bear and a book. They said I was rich,” said Nataly.
All this, just for Nataly, after she had a rough few days at school.
“If other people are staring at you or making you feel uncomfortable, it’s not good. We’re all different,” said Maria Gutierrez, Nataly’s mother.
Nataly was diagnosed with cancer at just four months old: retinoblastoma. Although she beat it with chemotherapy, the tumor is still there and reflects when her retina moves.
“She was okay at school; she didn’t cry at school, but when she got home she just lost it,” Maria said.
Her mother took to Facebook and posted about the situation. She never thought it would lead to a reaction like this.
“I wanted her to feel special, like there are people who care and understand you,” said Jesse Bunker, owner of Phoenix Limo Connection.
Bunker is one of many community members who have shown support. He even took her to get her favorite treat: ice cream.
“You could have vanilla and you could add a topping, will you?” asked Mary.
Nataly’s mother hopes her daughter’s situation will become an educational moment and spark a conversation between parents and their children.
“What are you going to do if they stare at you, over your eye?” asked Mary. “That, I’m blessed,” Nataly replied.
The family only moved to Arizona six months ago, but the community already makes them feel at home.
“We have so many messages like she’s reading them one by one. It’s just, I’m very grateful,” Maria said.
Nataly shares a message with her new friends. “That I’m strong and that I have a good life,” said Nataly.
A good life, yes.