Haskins’ Nataleigh Hartman honored as ‘Girl of the Year’
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 11 July 2013 08:14
Nataleigh Hartman knows how to pull off the rainbow-colored bow look. She is also good at giving her dad a hard time and is the top accelerated reader in her class at Otsego Elementary.
|Doug Hartman of Haskins is seen with his daughter, Nataleigh Hartman, 8, the 2013 Girl of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and 2013 Woman of the Year, Mandy Sinclair Nitschke, from development at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The 8-year-old is also a leukemia survivor and has been for nearly five years.
Nataleigh is one of two Wood County residents recently honored by the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Nataleigh was named "Girl of the Year" while Mandy Sinclair Nitschke, of Perrysburg, was honored as "Woman of the Year." Both were presented with their honors at a grand finale event at Hilton Garden Inn at Levis Commons.
Nataleigh, the daughter of Doug and Janell Hartman, was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2006 - she was 16 months old.
"For the first part of the treatments, we had to go the hospital every time she had a fever. Her immune system was pretty much depleted," Doug Hartman said. "There was a time there when we were driving everyday to St. V's."
But now, wicked side effects from the chemo, exhausting nights at the hospital, and countless medical procedures are the last thing on Nataleigh's mind.
She's got Harry Potter books to read, softball games to play and siblings to horse around with.
"You don't remember any of that do you," her father asked her. She shook her head no.
"That's the best part about it," her dad said. "She doesn't remember it.
"She remembers her doctors and nurses, but she doesn't remember the trips and stays."
Her five-year remission mark will be in December.
And while there is no cure, the risk that the cancer will return is far less.
"After that five-year mark, it's kind of that magic number everyone is waiting for," her dad said.
"Since she has been off of her treatment, everything has gone well. All of her check-ups have been good. There really haven't been any bumps in the road."
But let it be known, the family is still planning a party to celebrate her five-year mark.
"Once we hit that mark, it is going to be a sense of relief," said her father, who is a detective sergeant with the Bowling Green Police Division.
Sinclair Nitschke, who works in development at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, was honored by the Foundation for her fundraising and awareness efforts.
She was one of five people who raised a total of $85,000 during the Northern Ohio Chapter's first campaign.
The group sent letters, e-mails, sought donations from businesses, held events around Northwest Ohio and did all they could to raise money for the cause.
The cause is close to Sinclair Nitschke's heart as she has a family member with blood cancer.
"I can tell you that my family member is on a drug right now ... that probably wouldn't not have been available if people before me had not raised money for research and done the leg work," she said.
"It makes sense to keep it going and to save more lives," she said. "Somebody before me did a lot of work to get where we are today."
Doug Hartman echoed her on the advancements of research and treatment.
"Even 15-20 years ago, with a kid like Nataleigh, Leukemia was a death sentence," he said.