Healthy World, Healthy Nation, Healthy You

Profiles in Courage: The Clark and Anita Natali Journey to Recovery from Oral Cancer~ An Invitation to Others to Share Stories of Hope and Healing

Mr. Clark Natali-retired Insurance Executive and Real Estate Developer

Mrs. Anita McGinn Natali-Artist, wife, mother, care giver, and advisor, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA, Volunteer, National Oral Cancer Foundation


Natali-retired-Clark and Anita Natali have lived in the Media area for 35 years and have been married since 1998 after they met at a single’s evening in 1993. This was a whirlwind, but steady romance as they met on July 1st, had lunch on July 2nd, and dinner on July 6th after Clark returned from the shore for a week-end get away. And d they were off and running! A sparkling couple with a fun filled life, they had the world by the tail, until a trip to the dentist in 2005 changed their world.


Clark and Anita Natali have been generous in sharing their stories of their shared journey through the long labyrinth of care, treatment and recovery from oral cancer.  In this series of personal Profiles in Courage, they have talked about what it was like to get such a diagnosis, how Clark dealt with the changes in his appearance and function, wife Anita has spoken of her role as primary care taker, and they have shared the details of the multiple surgical procedures  by inviting one of their plastic surgeons’ to the table to discuss what was involved in restoring Clark to a point where  he could function and eat food again. In addition to the formal system of care where Clark received help from a vast team of doctors, nurses and other professionals at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Anita received a great deal of consumer oriented education and emotional support from the Oral Cancer Foundation via their internet site.

This  program is focused on their experience of telling the many facets of their journey and how the telling of the story has been thus another important chapter in their journey of  living life to the fullest, despite cancer.

3 Key Points:

  1. Sharing the personal story of recovery for education of others has benefited Clark and Anita in that they have had the opportunity to reflect on how far they have come in a more than a 5 year journey back to health.
  2. Clark believes that in recalling how much his wife helped him when he was unable to help himself, strengthened his admiration and gratefulness for their partnership. He hopes his personal story will bring courage to others. He strongly encourages others to share similar stories in order for people who are viewing and listening to have more information and hope regarding how to deal with health crises.
  3. Anita shares how she has grown through the process of being her husband’s care giver at home and how this experience has brought her to a new level of personal growth in developing leadership skills. She now uses these skills through volunteering at a major medical center and through using her talents as an artist to give back to the Oral Cancer Foundation. She has great gratitude for how much the oral cancer foundation’s web site brought her comfort in the lonely hours of the night when she was seeking information and support via the internet.

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