Injured worker puts civil settlement to work for others

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Cheektowaga woman who was left paralyzed after an accident at work more than ten years ago is on a mission to help others. Natalie Barnhard is working to bring a spinal cord recovery center to the Western New York.

Barnhard was a personal trainer and physical therapist at the time she was exercising with a 600-pound piece of gym equipment that fell on her, rendering her a quadriplegic in 2004. Doctors gave Natalie little hope she would ever use her arms or legs again.

“I was told I wouldn’t move my arms when my injury happened. Now I can push a manual wheelchair. I need some assistance with it, I am not 100% independent, but I can do my own makeup, and I can eat, and all those things I had to re-learn.”

Natalie has gone through thousands of hours of rehab, training, and exercising. She also sued the maker of that exercise machine and settled out of court, but Barnhard has chosen to use money from that settlement to help others fighting back from their injuries.

“I know first-hand how difficult it is to get the things that you do need, and your life–in a blink of an eye–is completely changed, and now you have to learn a whole new way of life.”

Natalie started the Wheels With Wings Foundation, and on September 23, the foundation will hold its 6th annual Natalie’s Walk to raise money for others facing physical challenges, including adapting their homes for wheelchairs.

This year’s goal for “Natalie’s Walk” is $100,000, and if you would like more information for that 5k event, here is a link to the walk and Natalie’s Wheels With Wings Foundation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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