During a fateful skiing accident at age 16, Natalie Buchoz’s life was forever changed as a spinal cord injury left her paralyzed from the neck down. “I learned quickly that my new life was going to be filled with incredibly difficult daily challenges,” said Natalie. “Many people take for granted the small tasks we do on a daily basis. Such tasks include eating, combing your hair, getting dressed and getting in and out of a vehicle independently, these are all things I struggled to learn again.”
In December 2007, Natalie and her dad toured the Goodwill of Orange County Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center in Santa Ana. Upon beginning to work out at the Goodwill Fitness Center, Natalie had one goal in mind – to walk the stage at her high school graduation and receive her diploma.
For two years, Natalie dedicated her life to daily rehabilitation, always with her goal in the back of her mind. On her high school graduation day, Natalie successfully walked on stage as her family and friends – overwhelmed with joy – cheered her on.
Natalie’s pursuit of recovery did not stop there. She continued to diligently work on her progress with countless hours of physical therapy, water therapy and locomotion training. All of these efforts were enhanced by a rigorous three-day-a-week strength training program with a personal trainer at the Goodwill Fitness Center.
Over the next few years, Natalie continued to accomplish remarkable goals; proving her medical diagnosis wrong. Her independence grew as she learned to drive with hand controls, work her first job as a receptionist at the Goodwill Fitness Center and attend college at the University of Southern California. She moved to on-campus housing at USC, where she lived on her own for the first time. In 2015, Natalie graduated from USC with her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.
Following graduation, Natalie found her calling working with Dr. Daniel Amen of Amen Clinics. Natalie juggles a variety of responsibilities at the Amen Clinic, including all public relations and social media efforts. She frequently travels with Dr. Amen to speaking engagements and is a vital member of their team.
When she is not working, Natalie enjoys taking her dog to the park, reading poetry and filming videos for her YouTube channel. Her channel is dedicated to educating and inspiring others living with spinal cord injuries. Natalie recently got engaged to her boyfriend of 6 years, Grady and is looking forward to their future together. Congratulations, Natalie!
For more than a decade, the Goodwill of Orange County Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center has helped people, like Natalie, living with a physical disability or chronic illness achieve their highest degree of physical independence. With specialized equipment, inclusive fitness classes and knowledgeable personal trainers, the extraordinary 12,000-square-foot center provides everything individuals need to improve strength, cardiovascular conditioning, coordination and mobility.
At Goodwill, we believe in the power of work.
At the Goodwill Fitness & Technology Center, we are equally inspired by the power of working out.
Goodwill of Orange County’s Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center is located at 1601 E. St. Andrew Place, Santa Ana, CA 92705.
To learn more or set up a tour, call 714-361-6180 x242 or visit: https://www.ocgoodwill.org/fitness-center/