COOS BAY, Ore. — Natalie Hill went from being a small town teenager diagnosed with cancer to a worldwide inspiration whose bucket list inspired thousands.
Even though she died just over a week ago, her impact is still being felt. Saturday afternoon hundreds of friends, family members, and other fans of Hill filled the bleachers at Marshfield High School.
“She was such a tenacious competitor and would’ve spent hours in the gymnasium if she had had that opportunity, so there’s no doubt that Natalie would’ve wanted, how to celebrate her life,” said Greg Mulkey, Marshfield High athletic director.
The pep band played the school fight song, even the scoreboard lit up. But instead of showing a score, it showed the year Natalie was born and her basketball jersey number. “That was what she lived and breathed for. She loved it, and so it’s like it’s what’s right is to have it in the gymnasium like that, that’s her love,” said Tracee Scott, one of Natalie’s former classmates.
Friends describe Natalie as having a contagious spirit, a spirit that couldn’t be taken away by a terminal form of bone cancer that she was diagnosed with three years ago. “She has been, had such a huge impact on this community for the last you know three or so years and so we’ve lived her life,” said Mulkey.
The small coastal town of Coos Bay helped Natalie live the life she wanted, once she compiled all of her goals into a bucket list. “This whole community pitched in with everything, and so that’s how she achieved so many things,” said Scott.
Her bucket list achievements were nothing short of extraordinary. She shot hoops in the Rose Garden with the Portland Trailblazers, got a tattoo, and even met Taylor Swift.
“I mean she has accomplished more in 17 years than most people will in life, and that is not the bucket list, it’s the legacy of what she represented, her life and how she represented that,” said Mulkey.
So even though Natalie had the community’s help in accomplishing her goals, what really happened is she ended up helping others. Her bucket list caught the attention of more than 17,000 facebook users, inspiring people all over the world to live life to the fullest.