PHHP Partners in Love: Chris and Nathalie

Chris Dela Cruz, BS APK ’15 (HHP) and DPT ’18, and Nathalie Rosales BS APK ’15 (HHP)

Nathalie Rosales and Chris Dela Cruz
Nathalie Rosales and Chris Dela Cruz

Despite the fact that Chris Dela Cruz and Nathalie Rosales shared the same major — applied physiology and kinesiology in UF’s College of Health and Human Performance — it wasn’t until senior year that they met, at Balance 180, a local nonprofit gymnastics academy.

Nathalie, a Balance 180 volunteer coordinator, trained Chris, a summer camp volunteer, on how to help the children with special needs perform gymnastics and other sports. Nathalie admired Chris’ outgoing personality.

“He was always smiling and greeting others as if he already knew everyone,” she recalled. “He always had a positive outlook on everything. It was also very apparent from when we first met that he was very talented with his ability to play the guitar and ukulele and sing.”

Chris was impressed by Nathalie’s leadership skills and compassion.

“What struck me the most was how passionate she was to help the kids and how much she truly loved them and others,” he said. “It was very apparent she truly cares for others.”

Chris and Nathalie at Balance 180
Chris and Nathalie first met as volunteers at Balance 180, a nonprofit gymnastics academy co-founded by Dr. Krista Vandenborne, chair of PHHP’s department of physical therapy.

They shared a first date at Mi Apa, a Cuban inspired restaurant. Other favorite couple activities included tailgating, Latin nights as Sweet Mel’s, intramural sports, group fitness classes together, and supporting each other’s dream of getting into PT school.

Both achieved that dream, and Chris proposed to Nathalie in the Swamp on his graduation day from PHHP’s Doctor of Physical Therapy. Nathalie is now a pediatric physical therapist in an outpatient pediatric setting that provides multiple rehabilitation services. She also has her own business with Rodan + Fields. Chris is a neurological physical therapist at Shepherd Center where he helps rehabilitate patients with brain injuries and strokes. They live in Atlanta and love to explore new places. Following their wedding this April in Orlando, they will honeymoon in Thailand.

Chris and Nathalie share their best relationship advice:

“It’s important to support each other’s goals and root for each other in all endeavors. It’s also important to make time for each other every week, regardless of how busy you are.”