One by one, hundreds came to Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Carmichael to pay tribute to 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi — a little girl with a reach beyond her years.
Natalie was such a vibrant young lady who loved being around family and friends … who just had a zest for living,” said her uncle Tim McGuire, a general in the U.S. Army.
That passion for living passed on after Natalie accidentally bit into peanut-coated snack at Camp Sacramento. Highly allergic, three EpiPens could not revive her.
Her P.E. teacher remembers a child who wasn’t the best athlete, but had the best attitude.
“Natalie was amazing. She just was always cheerful, never complained,” said Phillip Tateishi.
Such a loss is almost impossible to understand for an family and could leave even the most devout, like the Giorgis, grappling with their faith.
“Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, his friend … and emotion even annoyance, anger is appropriate. To ask why, why … but somehow to work through that. God willing they will continue to do that,” said Father Michael Kiernan.
The Giorgis’ priest and their community are trying to help them work through their pain with purpose — stressing to everyone that helping children with these allergies isn’t an inconvenience, it’s a matter of life and death.
“My sister, her husband and Natalie [were] ever vigilant about what Natalie ate. And if it happens to Natalie, children throughout the country at at risk,” said McGuire.
Elk Grove schools will no longer be serving anything with peanuts in the wake of Natalie’s death, but her uncle, priest and teacher say her legacy can’t be one action.
They want ongoing education nationwide.