She's the Sunrise star who lights up our lounge rooms at dawn but when she was 15, Natalie Barr was told she might never walk again.
Natalie was just another country girl growing up in the regional West Australian town of Bunbury when she contracted a serious infection in her vertebrae.
While her friends were gossiping and trying to sneak into pubs, Natalie was wasting away on a hospital bed, hooked up to a drip for two long months.
In addition to the boredom, she had to deal with fear: Doctors warned her that if she moved, she could end up a paraplegic.
"I remember they put me in a wheelchair and I was thinking, 'This is going to be my life. I am never going to walk again'," Natalie tells the August issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
"I hadn't stood up for weeks and I was so weak. All my friends were starting to sneak into pubs and I was stuck in hospital thinking I was never going to leave."
Natalie's mum, Julie Barr, says she and her husband, Jim, were "beside ourselves with worry" at the time.
"But Natalie is a very positive, very determined person. She wouldn't be where she is if she wasn't."
"I think it made me even more determined and made me think I've got to make the most of my life," says Natalie.
One of the first things Natalie did when she got out of hospital was to organise her own work experience at the Golden West Network, a regional television station.
Having missed an entire term of Year 10, she also had missed the opportunity to take part in a school-organised intern program. The TV stint was, she says, love at first sight.
"I walked into that newsroom and thought, 'This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have no idea how, but I’m going to do this.' I was just in awe of the vibe of the newsroom and the excitement, the whole tense atmosphere leading up to deadline."
Read more of this story in the August issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
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