Much-loved longtime Menlo Park employee is battling COVID-19 in the ICU | June 4, 2021 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - June 4, 2021

Much-loved longtime Menlo Park employee is battling COVID-19 in the ICU

Natalya Jones, the recreation supervisor who heads the city's child care programs, has been hospitalized for a month

by Angela Swartz

A longtime, beloved figure in Menlo Park is "fighting for her life" on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19. Her family is asking community members to rally together to raise funds for her medical bills.

Natalya Jones, director of the Menlo Children's Center and Belle Haven Child Development Center and the city's recreation supervisor, has worked for the city for over two decades. Jones, a Brentwood resident, landed in the ICU at Santa Clara Medical Center with pneumonia on April 24, said Karina Avila, senior office assistant at the Belle Haven Child Development Center.

"She's a mentor for a lot of our employees in Menlo Park and is a loving, caring person," Avila said. Parents whose children attended the child care center, even if it was years ago, are calling to check in, she said.

In 2020, the city of Menlo Park named Jones employee of the year and gave her a 20 years of service award.

Jones' family launched a GoFundMe page to support her recovery, and describes her as a "motivator when we are intimidated, our cheerleader when we're determined, and our comforter when we're discouraged."

"With your continued prayers and support, it won't be long before we can see her smile, hear her laughter, and talk over good food!" her family wrote. "Continue to spread good vibes, well wishes, and prayers for our rock Natalya."

Jones' family said she is slowly progressing.

"She is fighting through the most challenging health obstacles with a silent strength that is surprising her medical care team," her family wrote.

As of Wednesday, June 2, the GoFundMe had received contributions from 160 donors totaling $17,685 of its $40,000 goal.

Although her future treatment plan has yet to be finalized, she will need to stay in a rehabilitation facility to receive "intense" physical and occupational therapy after being released from the ICU, according to her family. The family is not financially prepared for the current and upcoming expenses of long-term care, physical therapy, medication and household accommodations. Donate at gofund.me/decd9938.

Email Staff Writer Angela Swartz at [email protected]

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