Natalie Papadam’s Superb Team Nat Event Raises $40,000

Team Nat 107This past year, I met South Miami society girl Ani Sierra. What an addition to my life she is. Good friends often introduce you to their special inner circles. Through Ani, I met Natalie Papadam. Calling her beautiful and kind would be an understatement. Natalie grew up in South Miami with a close-knit group of girlfriends, just like I had. The only difference between Natalie’s group of friends and mine is: among Natalie’s friends, is one who was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer the week of her 30th birthday. That girl is Natalie and she took my breath away, hence me sharing her story.

The Team Nat Foundation is composed of the group of girls who were closest to Natalie when they grew up. Each of these local girls including Adriana Liao Vilhena, Cristina Lago, Maria Elisa Muñoz Jessica Villar Signorini, Victoria Diaz De Villegas, Kellie Camacho and Elizabeth Delgado stood by her side during treatment, to encourage her and give her strength during her treatment.


Adriana of Team Nat tells me “on January 2, 2012, our friend Natalie was diagnosed with malignant paraganglioma and pheochromocytoma, a rare and aggressive neuroendocrine tumor.  Unbeknownst to her and undetected, Natalie’s body had multiple inoperable tumors. Two days after celebrating her 30th birthday, Natalie complained to her doctor friend about abdominal bloating and lower back pain.  She was instructed to get an X-ray, however, the results did not find anything.   In a matter of 48-hours her symptoms worsened and Natalie began to have difficulty breathing.  She went to the hospital and was admitted into Northwestern’s Intensive Care Unit, with her heart and lungs in distress.  Natalie was intubated, and in the process her trachea was ruptured due to the unknown presence of tumors.  From that moment forward, her life changed forever. Natalie was diagnosed with cancer while on life support. A week later, while Natalie was still on life support, the decision was made to start chemotherapy immediately.  It was a risky decision since Natalie was still recovering from her tracheal surgery, but her cancer was so aggressive and advanced that there was no time to waste, the tumors were large and had metastasized.Now, after nine rounds of chemotherapy, Natalie’s tumors have decreased by 50% in size and according to her doctors, she is exhibiting one of the most positive responses ever seen in a patient with malignant paraganglioma.  Since July 2012 Natalie has not received chemotherapy and she has been able to resume a productive life.  She continues to live in Chicago and has resumed her activities and work responsibilities.”

The Team Nat Girls threw their second annual event at the M Building (formerly Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery) and it was one of those events that left chills in my spine. A gorgeous group including Maria Elisa Muñoz, Lidia Pefaur, Pilar Pefaur, Andre Papadam, Nicholas Patino,  Hobi Linhares, Georgina Corona, Javier Herrera, Rick Arce, Kristen Gonzalez, Diana Rodriguez, Nancy Clay, Maria Gonzalez,  Diana Chica, Diana Diaz, Jessica Patino, Lizzie Nuell, Andrea Portela, Caro Toledo, Laura Ledon, Amanda Codina and Carla Defortuna gathered for the soiree.  Approximately three hundred Chanel clad women and handsome men came to celebrate Nat, and many were faces that were unfamiliar but left me mesmerized. Having raised over $40,000 dollars, people sipped on cocktails, socialized and listened to guest speaker Dr. Camilo Jimenez from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Dr. Jimenez is an Associate Professor of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders. He has performed extensive clinical research in the field of endocrine cancer with a particular interest in pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. Then they celebrated life with tunes by DJ Jeff Wool.