The Natasha Anne Gaziano Foundation is an organization that seeks to raise money to enrich the lives of individuals who live with cystic fibrosis. It was founded in honor of Natasha Anne Gaziano, who lived with CF for 32 years and never let it get in the way of her dreams to dance and live life to the fullest.

 

This foundation is dedicated to helping those with cystic fibrosis have a better tomorrow full of hope, strength and accomplishment!  The foundation is Natasha’s spirit and her legacy to continue to touch and enrich the lives of individuals who live with cystic fibrosis.

Our Mission

Hope for a better tomorrow

What better way to introduce you to
Natasha Gaziano than to tell her story in her own words. Since she was a reflective and eloquent writer, excerpts from her writings are incorporated into this epigrammatic biographical sketch.

On Living With Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

"I learned that life is very precious and it is something that I cannot take for granted. With every breath I take, I can only drive forward and hope for a better tomorrow! I have an inner strength so powerful that it sets my level of motivation on fire. This strength begins in my soul and generates an energy source that gives me the determination and persistence to go on."

 

With this enthusiasm Natasha strove to be a valuable role model, a motivational speaker, a dancer, a teacher, and an avid fundraiser for her cystic fibrosis community.

Natasha’s passion was dance. It was her obsession... 

Dance is as important to me as breathing, this creative expression feeds my soul. It fills a void in me that I cannot articulate. Dance comforts my spirit and empowers me to feel good even on my worst day.

 

With this passion, Natasha was able to use dance as an expressive channel for exercise and airway clearance, an educational pursuit, and her career.

Dance As Exercise and 

Airway Clearance

At the young age of three years old, Natasha was introduced to dance as a form of exercise since anecdotal evidence established the notion that physically active individuals with cystic fibrosis enjoyed a greater degree of better health. But Natasha just fell in love with this artistic movement! She wrote “while other children played with crayons, I developed dance combinations.” It was an added benefit that after dancing, especially tapping, she felt as if she had thirty minutes of rigorous chest PT.

Dance Education

Natasha lived her dream while pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Florida. She performed with the university’s prestigious MOD Project and the Shadow Dance Theater. She showcased her first original choreography No Tears Left on a provocative and daring subject, the holocaust. “Through dance and digital art I tried to evoke mental images of the horrific atrocities that were suffered by millions in concentration camps at the hands of the Nazis’. It is important to remind the world that the hate and murders that happened during World War II is occurring in Eastern Europe today.”

As an undergraduate, Natasha participated in a Laban Movement Analysis course. “After a few weeks, I noticed an improvement in my breathing and overall well-being. I observed similarities between Laban breathing techniques and autogenic drainage. When combining both techniques, I experienced an increase in breathing stamina, a clearer mental focus, and a more positive outlook.” From this new self-discovery, the concept for her research as a University Scholar was conceived. With her mentor, Joan Frosch, her research was published in the Journal of Undergraduate Research. Natasha desperately wanted to share the benefits of Laban breathing with the cystic fibrosis community, so an exercise video “Creating An Art Out Of Breathing” followed. For this research and video she was awarded the Blair L. Sadler International Arts in Healthcare Award.

Career In Dance

In February 2005, Natasha received a special “gift of life” through a double lung transplant. Four months later, she was teaching dance to students at the University of Florida as well as pursuing a career as a Dancer in Residence with Shands Hospital Arts in Medicine Program. Implementing Traffic, an innovative and motivational dance program, for overweight and diabetic teens, Natasha’s participants developed “self-esteem and confidence while working to become as healthy as possible.” Natasha wrote “I have experienced the profound healing effects that the arts, particularly dance, combined with traditional medicine have on the healing process.”

As a Pilates practitioner and founder of “Breathe Strong,” Natasha taught individuals with cystic fibrosis eight Pilates therapeutic exercises that were aimed at strengthening the upper body, preventing severe kyphosis, and increasing lung capacity through focusing on breath, improving posture, joint health, and bone density.

In Natasha’s short life, she was not able to complete all that she wanted to achieve. Through her legacy, the Natasha Anne Gaziano Foundation, the torch “for a better tomorrow” will continue to carry on with her same determination and persistence to help others with cystic fibrosis.

Dance is as important to me as breathing, this creative expression feeds my soul. It fills a void in me that I cannot articulate. Dance comforts my spirit and empowers me to feel good even on my worst day.

About Natasha

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide. CF is caused by a recessive gene, which means that a child must inherit two copies of the defective CF gene—one from each parent—to have the disease. It is most common in Caucasians, but people of all races can have CF. Because of a defective gene and the protein it produces, the body makes unusually thick, sticky mucus. This mucus clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections. It also can affect the pancreas and block release of enzymes that help the body break down and absorb food. CF may affect other systems as well.

Foundation Recipients

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Fundraisers

Eastern European Cookbook Sale

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Holiday Wreath

Sale

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Mother's Day

Tea