Boynton “princess” gets magical carriage

Girl with disabilities and sister to be honorary race starters


Four-year-old Bellamaria Natale has had an illness since she was about 6 months old that has her using a wheelchair and limited her ability to speak.

Her parents have taken her to countless doctors, but so far no one can pinpoint the problem.

Bellamaria fights hard through her illness, and never complains, said her dad, William Natale, 26, of Boynton Beach, who owns a moving company.

The girl’s mom, Dominique, 25, calls Bellamaria and her other daughter, 2-year-old Tigerlilly, her “little princesses.”

Now, thanks to a city of Boynton Beach worker and an Oregon man who knows what it’s like to raise a child with disabilities, the princesses will have a magical carriage.

Bellamaria and Tigerlilly — known as Bella and Tiger — will be the honorary starters at the 5K Barrier Free Run, Walk or Roll in Boynton Beach next month. The race raises money for the city’s Barrier Free Park, a Boynton park where kids with disabilities can play alongside kids without disabilities.

And the girls will be riding in a Cinderella carriage wheelchair, a specially made purple and pink one complete with “magical clouds.”

All this came to be because a few families with disabled children decided to “pay it forward.”

Families helping families

The Natales called the city months ago seeking a place to hold a ball for their nonprofit, called Faith in Miracles. The Love for Hope Ball will raise money for 16-year-old Luceano Damian, of Palm Springs, whose family needs money to buy him a wheelchair-accessible van. Luceano has cerebral palsy and respiratory problems.

The family’s kindness to the Diaz family came a year after the Natales were given a similar wheelchair-accessible van. That came about after Palm Beach County Fire Rescue captains partnered with others in the community, including the Schumacher Auto Group, to buy the van.

“They’re trying to pay it forward,” said Wally Majors, the city’s director of parks and recreation of the Natales.

The Natales and city agreed to host the ball at the Carolyn Sims Center after the Barrier Free Park Race. That’s also when the city decided it would be a great match to have Bella as the honorary starter.

A little later on, Majors was watching TV and saw a segment on a man who built specialized wheelchairs.

“We thought it would be exciting that perhaps we could have a magic wheelchair built for Bella,” Majors said.

He reached out to the Oregon-based nonprofit company, Magic Wheelchair, founded by Ryan Weimer, who knows about raising a child with disabilities.

Weimer’s son, Keaton, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at 9 months old. In 2008, Keaton told his dad he wanted to be a pirate for Halloween, so Weimer created a wheelchair designed as a pirate ship. The idea caught on and spread.

The Natale family spoke with Weimer and volunteer builder Matthew Stowers through Skype at Boynton’s City Hall. Bella and Tiger got to pick their Cinderella-themed design: they chose the No. 6, purple and pink with yellowish ribbons and white wheels. It will have bubbles, and LED lighting. And — as Weimer and Stowers were proud to show off — a fog machine that will attach to the wheelchair to make it look like the girls are surrounded by magical clouds.

“You’re being an advocate for special needs. You didn’t let them be forgotten. You let them shine,” Dominique Natale, 25, told the men.

While the Natales don’t know what’s wrong with Bella, they do know her muscles are weak and her spine puts pressure on one of her lungs. Bella has a ventilator to help her breathe. The Natales have hope that one day Bella will be able to walk, dance, do the dishes and do laundry.

Already she fulfills a special role in their lives.

“I call her my lighthouse because she keeps us grounded,” said her dad.

He said there are things in life that people can complain about, “but I look at her and she fights so hard and doesn’t complain.

“No matter what you’re going through, you can always fight.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

North Carolina deputies find nearly $91 million of liquid meth on truck
North Carolina deputies find nearly $91 million of liquid meth on truck

Deputies in North Carolina on Saturday seized a tractor-trailer containing $90.8 million worth of liquid methamphetamine in the driver's side fuel tank, WTVD reported. Raul Topete Arreola, 49, and Aquileo Perez Pineda, 48, were charged with three counts of trafficking methamphetamine, according to the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies...
WATCH: Veterans arrive home to cheers and hugs after trip to Washington D.C.
WATCH: Veterans arrive home to cheers and hugs after trip to Washington D.C.

The noise filled the entrance to Concourse A and B long before the men in red hats arrived. About 300 people had already come, some wearing cowboy boots, some holding USA signs, some sporting freshly pressed military uniforms and pushing walkers with American flags pinned to the sides. “We came to honor our boys,” said Frank Bonfiglio,...
25 people in New York City hospitalized for synthetic marijuana overdoses
25 people in New York City hospitalized for synthetic marijuana overdoses

Twenty-five people in New York City were hospitalized Saturday night after apparently having a negative reaction to synthetic marijuana, WABC reported. Lt. Paul Ng of the New York Police Department said that the drug, known as K2, was taken by people in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. They were taken to the hospital after reports of...
UPDATE: Man charged in Boynton drive-by that injures teen gets $20,000 bond
UPDATE: Man charged in Boynton drive-by that injures teen gets $20,000 bond

An 18-year-old boy who allegedly shot and injured a teen in Boynton Beach Wednesday night was given a $20,000 bond by a Palm Beach County Court judge Saturday morning. Cleevens Altiner was arrested Friday and faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and aggravated battery with a firearm. The judge ordered a $10...
Police: Massachusetts man arrested for allegedly hitting dog with baseball bat
Police: Massachusetts man arrested for allegedly hitting dog with baseball bat

A Massachusetts man was arrested Friday for allegedly abusing a dog with a baseball bat. Gregory Ostiguy, 50, of New Bedford, was arrested by Dartmouth Police and charged with animal cruelty. Police responded to a report of animal abuse at around 6:50 p.m. on Friday. After an investigation, police determined that Ostiguy did in fact...
More Stories