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Family and friends remember Kevin Natale

Family and friends celebrate the life of Kevin Natale who forgave the neighbor who left him a quadriplegic

VENTURA, Calif.-People wore sports jerseys to celebrate the life of Kevin Natale.

Natale, born in 1980, was a teen athlete in 1994 when he was shot and paralyzed by a mentally ill neighbor in the Ventura Keys.

As a quadriplegic, Natale created an organization called "Founded on Forgiveness" and forgave the gunman serving a life sentence for the crime that left him in a wheelchair.

Natale became the author of the children's book entitled "My Uncle and Me and the Big Game."

It tells the story of an uncle in a electric wheelchair and the obstacles he faces while taking his nephew to a sporting event.

Natale died of cancer in December.

Before his Celebration of Life at Encounter Church in Ventura on Saturday, his sister Kristine Belanger said they encouraged everyone to wear their favorite sports jersey.

"He loved sports, so jerseys, and he collected things so we have hats at the reception people can take," said Belanger.

His mother Diane MacIntyre described how she cared for Kevin.

"I have been with him since he was born, he was shot when he was 14, and its always been Kevin and the family."

His father Bob Natale said his son left his mark by setting an example.

"What I am thinking about my son now is [how] his message of forgiveness has effected so many people." said Natale.

His loved ones helped him make some of his dreams come true.

Natale graduated Biola University and recently watched a pro baseball game in Kansas City where he was treated like a VIP.

Natale was working on a second children's book when he died. His family hopes to finish it with the help of the drawings and notes he left behind.

Kevin's service can be seen on his Facebook page and donations to help cover the costs may be sent to Venmo @rnatale11

Article Topic Follows: Ventura County
celebration of life
Founded on Forgiveness
Kevin Natale
My Uncle and Me and the Big Game
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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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