NewsUplifting Arizona


Chandler community showing love to young cancer survivor

Nataly Gutierrez
Nataly Gutierrez
Posted at 9:16 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 07:42:29-04

CHANDLER, AZ — What makes you different, makes you beautiful. Ten-year-old cancer survivor, Nataly Gutierrez, is feeling the love from the community. On Wednesday, she got to experience a day fit for a princess.

"Good morning!" shouted teachers at Bologna Elementary School 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.

Nataly Gutierrez

"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 of this, just for Nataly, after she had a few rough days at school.

"Having other people stare at you or making you feel uncomfortable, it’s not right. We’re all different," said Maria Gutierrez, Nataly's mother.

Nataly was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at just four months old. 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," said Maria.

Her mother took to Facebook, making a post about the situation. She never thought it would result in a response like this.

"I wanted her to feel special, like there are people out here that care and understand," says Jesse Bunker, who owns Phoenix Limo Connection.

Bunker is one of many community members who have been showing support. He even took her to get her favorite treat: ice cream.

"You could get vanilla and you could add a topping, you want that?" asked Maria.

Nataly's mother is hoping her daughter's situation will end up being an educational moment and spark a conversation between parents and their children.

"What are you going to do when they stare at you, about your eye?" asked Maria. "That, I’m blessed," responded Nataly.

The family moved to Arizona only six months ago, but they are already feeling at home because of the community.

"We have so many messages, like she’s reading them one-by-one. It’s just, I’m really thankful," said Maria.

Nataly Gutierrez

Nataly is sharing a message with her new friends. "That I’m strong and that, that I have a good life," said Nataly.

A good life, indeed.