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Doane Grad Meets President Bush

Doane College graduate Natalie Nelsen Schneider was a member of the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Gold Medal Women's Basketball team in September and had the opportunity to meet President George W. Bush on Tuesday, October 7, at the White House in Washington D.C.  Below is a story that was posted earlier on the Doane College Web site.

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Editor's note: Since the original story was posted, Team USA won gold! The announcement from Natalie's mother follows, as well as the original story on 2005 Doane graduate Natalie Nelsen Schneider

Good Morning, All!!!!!   We have won the GOLD!!!  Team Germany was a very tough opponent, but Team USA again won 50-38 and is bringing home the GOLD. It truly was a great game.   Natalie now has a great looking necklace that is heavy with GOLD!!!! We are so very proud of her accomplishments with just 3 years of wheelchair basketball experience.   See you Monday!!! (Nancy Nelsen 9/15)

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Natalie Nelsen Schneider, a 2005 Doane graduate, competed with the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team representing the United States at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 6-17.

Schneider, 25, was one of 12 athletes selected and the only new team member from the Midwest. The roster includes six members of the 2004 U.S. Paralympic Team, which won the gold medal in Athens, Greece.

Opening ceremonies took place Sept. 7.

Schneider earned math and computer science degrees from Doane and a master's degree in statistics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently is a statistician for ACTON Marketing in Lincoln. She is the daughter of Dennis and Nancy Nelsen of Crete. Dennis coached boys basketball at Crete High for 24 years and was an assistant women's basketball coach at Doane for nine years. Nancy is a longtime executive secretary for Doane's Admission Office.

Schneider was a standout athlete at Crete High who, as a sophomore, was an All Conference, All State Honorable Mention varsity athlete on a basketball team that qualified for the state tournament. At age 16, she was diagnosed with malignant osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Doctors placed a titanium rod inside her femur to replace the bone that was removed with the cancer. Her knee joint also is titanium.

Because a break or a fall could result in amputation of the leg, doctors told her she had to find alternative ways to compete. Her senior year at Doane, she joined a sitting volleyball team and was selected for the women's USA sitting volleyball team in Denver. She had to leave the team because of the danger the sport posed to her leg.

A short time later, she joined the Madonna Magic wheelchair basketball team and then attended a wheelchair basketball camp at the University of Arizona, where she was invited to join the university's women's wheelchair basketball team as a "fly-in."

She was nominated for the U.S. Paralympics team following a weekend selection camp at Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training site.