Our Story

Natalie is a 12-year-old 7th grade student who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. Natalie loves spending time with her friends, singing, playing at the lake, cooking, going to church, swimming, and spending time with her Goldendoodle dog Monty. In 2014 when Natalie was five years old, she was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. After ongoing genetic testing, we learned that Natalie carries a genetic mutation gene which affects her pancreas called a PRSS1. After her diagnosis we were referred to Cincinnati Children’s Pancreatic Center. Under the care of Dr. Lin we were able to finally get some answers. Natalie was diagnosed with insufficient pancreatic enzymes. These enzymes are needed to break down food. Natalie has been hospitalized multiple times and has had 9 surgeries on her pancreas to remove stones and sludge. Over the last 8 years Natalie has had to deal with chronic pain, which has impacted her life and caused scarring to her pancreas. In September 2021 we traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, to have an evaluation done on Natalie to see if she was a candidate for a Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Cell Auto-transplantation. After having another surgery in December, the team decided that Natalie would need to have the “big surgery.” In May 2022, Natalie is scheduled to have a TPIAT surgery. This surgery will consist of removing multiple organs and removing the islet cells and transplanting them into her liver. Natalie will have her pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, and appendix removed. This surgery is so rare that we will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, to have the surgery. We will also have to live in Cincinnati for a few months while she is in the hospital and through her recovery. COTA will help our family with transplant-related expenses, such as medications, diabetic supplies, and travel expenses to Cincinnati. Please remember our family in your prayers as we go through this journey, and consider donating to COTA in honor of Natalie. Also, check back for updates on Natalie.

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support. COTA is the nation’s only fundraising organization solely dedicated to raising life-saving dollars in honor of transplant-needy children and young adults. 100% of each contribution made to COTA in honor of our patients helps meet transplant-related expenses. COTA’s services are free to our families, and gifts to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

10 thoughts on “Our Story

  1. We are so thinking of Natalie. We wish Natalie all the best for a very successful surgery. Sending love and prayers to the Atchley family.
    Kristen and Paul Hatmaker

  2. We will continue to pray for you and your family during this most difficult time, and that the surgeries will be a complete success.

  3. We will pray for you and your family before, during, and after your surgery. God has Got this Natalie ! You are a special young lady that God has great plans for in the days ahead. Take care and God speed in your recovery !

  4. I follow Salem page on Facebook. I’m so sorry that your family is dealing with this. We have a great Father!!!! We are praying that she is healed in the name of the Lord. There is another family from Kingston you might want to hook up with for added support. Her 17 year son has been there for 290 + days. Her name is Elizabeth Igou from Kingston. Is there anything personally you need to make you stay a little better. You name it and I will see that you get it. With Love Sister-in-love. Just remember Our God is an Awesome God!!!!!

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