Family Sites Catalog

Communicating pain

Gillian, Nathaniel’s mom:

"I started taking signing classes at SignShine when my son, Nathaniel, was six months old. As soon as we started the class I started using some basic signs with him, and my husband started signing the alphabet as well as many other signs. After about a month we finally had our first sign – Nathaniel signed "milk" while he was nursing! We were so excited that he’d finally started to sign! Nathaniel His second sign, "fan", came a month later. Once he had two signs we were sure he was ready to start signing everything, but nothing else happened. We started another session of SignShine, and still had no new signs. After five months of signing his only signs were "milk" and "fan" we thought we were done and he just wasn’t going to do any more. Then one day when he was eleven months old we were making lunch and he signed "cheese"! "Cheese" was quickly followed by "book" (which initially looked a lot like his sign for cheese) and then he was off and running… he added "eat", "dog", and "more/again" within weeks. From that point on he’s kept adding new signs rapidly. He’s now fifteen months old and uses more than 20 signs regularly, including "EXIT" which he "spells" every time we pass an exit sign!"

Nathaniel signing BIRD:

A note from Steven, Nathaniel's Father:

"Our 16-month-old son Nathaniel has a rare childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. He was diagnosed with stage 3 neuroblastoma at Cedars Sinai on Feb. 5, 2009. He had stopped walking (and then sitting and crawling) over the days leading up to Feb. 5. An MRI found a tumor Nathaniel’s abdomen which had wrapped around and compressed his spinal cord. He had an emergency surgery to remove part of the tumor for biopsy and perform a laminectomy to relieve pressure on his spinal cord. After a week of tests ( a spinal scan, x-rays, a CT scan, an MBIG scan, kidney function tests, and a bone marrow biopsy), everyone was relieved to discover that the tumor hadn’t spread. Pathologists at Cedar’s and at Children’s Hospital LA found that his neuroblastoma is favorable for treatment and determined that his is in the intermediate risk group with a good prognosis.

Nathaniel has undergone two cycles of chemotherapy, but he has been so happy and cheerful because it is helping him feel better. His motor skills are slowly coming back as he can now roll, sit, kneel, crawl, and cruise. We are hoping that this progress will continue through the next two cycles."


We have included a couple of photos of Nathaniel and feel free to visit his Web site and leave a message!

Thanks you all so much for your support and good wishes for Nathaniel!

Nathaniel Signing:

This is a video of Nathaniel (15 months old) finger spells EXIT in SignShine Class. Nathaniel sings in ASL EXIT whenever he sees an exit sign. His dad, Steve and him practice signing together every time they see the sign. Look for Nathaniel approximation of the alphabet. So amazing!!

Nathaniel is an 18-month-old cancer survivor and a SignShine participant.

Nathaniel was diagnosed with stage 3 neuroblastoma in early February. Thank you for celebrating with us his amazing journey and recovery!

SIGNING MIRACLE: On February 3, 2009 Steve, Nathaniel's father, took him to my SignShine class. Nathaniel did not want to walk, crawl or sit up. I tried to motivate him to move by placing his favorite toys nearby. He couldn’t even reach for them. Nathaniel was SIGNING “PAIN” when he tried to move. Nathaniel didn’t have the words to say he is in pain, but he SIGNED PAIN!

Scroll down or click here to see videos of Nathaniel signing!

Thank you for participating in SignShine RAFFLE for Nathaniel. We raised almost $6,000!!! We were overwhelmed by your generosity!

Thank you from Nathaniel’s Parents:

“Thank you for supporting Nathaniel during his neuroblastoma treatment through your participation in the SignShine Raffle! Your generosity helped significantly offset the cost of the month we spent in New York for Nathaniel’s surgery. Our family is so grateful for your kindness during this difficult time.

We’re happy to report that Nathaniel’s surgery was a success! He’s now done with treatment and in the “monitoring” phase of his recovery, which means MRI’s as well as additional scans and lab tests for five years. All the details of his recovery are available online at”

With Love and Hope,

Nathaniel, Steven, and Gillian

On June 9, 2009 Nathaniel drew the raffle tickets.

(Video to be posted soon!)

The winners:

You are invited to a FREE Fun, Sing and Sign Celebration honoring Nathaniel Bayer!

Nathaniel is an 18-month-old cancer survivor and a SignShine participant. He has had a tough battle these past few months, but is now back home and ready to embrace all the fun that life has to offer. Please join the party as we celebrate Nathaniel's bravery.

We'll have signing, music and singing, yummy food, and great company. The event will be sponsored by Kara Frans Photography and all money raised from the photography sittings will be donated to Nathaniel and his family. Best of all, Nathaniel will be there to draw the winning raffle tickets.

When: Tuesday, June 9 at 10:30am

Where: 1803 Pontius Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (map)

Here is an update from Nathaniel’s parents, Gillian and Steve:

“Nathaniel returned from a three and a half week stay in New York on May 5, after a successful surgery with Dr. La Quaglia of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. La Quaglia was able to remove virtually the entire tumor (the main part of which was the size of a man’s fist) during Nathaniel’s surgery. Now that the tumor has been removed, Nathaniel is entering the “monitoring” phase of his treatment which means five years of periodic MRI’s, MIBG scans, and blood and urine checks to make sure no new neuroblastoma is growing. Nathaniel is doing great after his big surgery, and all of his motor skills have returned! He’s been signing like crazy throughout all of this and impressed all his doctors and nurses with his communication skills!”

Scroll down or click here to see videos of Nathaniel signing!

It is heartwarming to get everyone’s generous help and kindness!!

We look forward to celebrating with you.

Help out Nathaniel!


Nathaniel Bayer is 17 months old and was diagnosed with cancer in February. He has undergone two rounds of chemotherapy and will soon have an operation to hopefully have the cancerous tumor completely removed.

Nathaniel lives in Los Angeles with his parents Steven and Gillian.  A group of us have banded together to try and do something for them in this very difficult time. Nathaniel’s parents and doctors were hoping that the two rounds of chemotherapy would shrink the tumor but it did not shrink. Luckily, there is one doctor, who is extremely experienced and specialized in the resection of neuroblastomas, who believes that despite the fact that the tumor has not shrunk, he can do a complete removal. Since Dr. La Quaglia is at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, Nathaniel and his parents will have to fly there for the surgery so they will most likely be in New York for a month. Their health insurance will hopefully pay for the surgery but the family will definitely be paying for the airfare, hotel, and meals out of pocket so we are holding this raffle to raise money to help them defray these costs so the family can concentrate on helping little Nathaniel get better.

The Bayers are a lovely family and have handled this trying time with grace and courage and we would be so happy to help them in any way that we can.  Please forward to your family and friends…