Katie wins the gold!!

Well, not literally but in my book she does. And just who the heck is Katie, you ask?? Well, that would be Katie Ortega, daughter of my sweet friend Linda Ortega who was recently diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia), which is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow-the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. Katie is a beautiful young girl of 17 but you would never guess her age. She’s so much more mature than her years and in spite of what I call The Wretched C, she has this wonderful, indomitable spirit about her and manages to find a smile and joy, regardless of her situation.

On May 26th, Katie and her beautiful sister Allie were dressed to the nines for prom…

But by June 14th, my sweet friend Linda had posted this on her Facebook wall:

I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be for Linda and her family. When I found out that Katie had AML, it brought tears to my eyes because I have a son who is just a couple years older than Katie and it really got to me. It doesn’t matter whether she’s my child or not…she’s still a child and I’m a mother. I can’t shut off my feelings as a mother simply because the person is not of my own flesh and blood. I’m global with my love and concern and I really do hate to see anyone suffer with anything. But that Katie…man, she’s somethin’ else y’all!  Oh, she has days when she’s a little subdued, from what her mama says. For the most part though, she takes her chemo like a trooper, rarely complains and more often than not, does it with a smile on her face. Even when she’s losing her hair, she smiles!

If you’re looking for the definition of a mega-watt smile, this would be it. Of course, McD’s does have pretty good fries so…y’know.  ; )   Katie’s community and friends have really come together in support of this lovely young lady. Red Devil Pizza donated 20% of each purchase toward Standing By Katie on July 9th and Cafe Cabo will also be donating proceeds on August 5th in support of Katie’s 2nd round of chemo. We hear so much about what’s going wrong in the world and all the political hoo-hah but the folks in La Verne, California are unsung heroes. You don’t hear about a lot of good and decent things like this because news has become ruled by the corporate suits and there are still too many Americans who like the train wrecks of life. There are so many kids out there like Katie who are struggling through so much and have a better grasp on what’s important than we do. Like I’ve said before, who am I to complain about my life?

One thing I should tell you about Miss Katie is that she LOVES baseball and her favorite team is the LA Dodgers. Actually, she and her sister Allie both love the Dodgers.


                                                                                                 Batter up!

 Watching the game with sister Allie

Recently, the whole Ortega family got to spend a day at the stadium with the LA Dodgers and sweet little Katie got to hang out with her favorite player, Matt Kemp. Here are a few shots:

That’s Katie with Clayton Kershaw, Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp, respectively. Matt is her favorite player and I can see why. He’s a hottie! LOL   Here’s Matt signing her shirt and sharing a lighter moment with Katie and her mom, Linda:

Not only is the whole community of La Verne behind Katie, so is her favorite Dodger, Matt Kemp. See that orange bracelet on Katie’s wrist? Well Matt has one now too! Here’s a close up of the bracelet:

So you know, Matt is not just a great player but a great guy as well. He’s still rockin’ that killer orange bracelet. This pic was taken today…

And here’s a wonderful shot of the whole Ortega family:

This is one special and fantabulous family! Oh yeah…they’re all gorgeous too. Through it all, they all manage to smile and have a sense of humor as well. That says a lot about a family who could choose to be angry, bitter and wonder “why me??” but instead, they hold on to their faith and elect to stay positive. I admire folks like the Ortegas because I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of person myself. I refuse to let a rough patch keep me down and I don’t like to accept defeat…neither do they. They put one foot in front of the other and take things one day at a time. Actually, you could say Katie does more than put one foot in front of the other.  She made her own version of the Olympic torch and decided to do her leg of the run at the hospital…less than 24 hours after chemo!!

She has such joy in spite of her surroundings and the AML. I’m just amazed by this young girl and I wanted to share her story with you all because maybe you know someone who is fighting an illness as well, whatever it might be. It’s very hard to find one’s grace when all you really want to do is cry, kick rocks and scream. But grace is one thing Katie has in abundance. I told Linda she’s done a fabulous job of raising her children and its evident when you see that short video. But the best message is from the woman herself, Miss Katie Ortega:


Yes, you will Katie…yes you will. Much love to you, my girl…I’m in awe…


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Renee Runkle Bryant
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 00:04:31

    Wow! Beautifully written from the heart with so much love. Bless you! and Bless Katie and the whole Ortega family.


  2. Tracy Morales
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 00:05:03

    Great BLOG….. this family and that beautiful young girl has inspired me to be more positive in my daily life. 🙂 Thank you for putting this together for others to see.


  3. Chris
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 00:10:09

    inspirational…your writing and Katie 🙂


  4. Sandy's Hopeful Room
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 13:46:17

    How beautiful are the words of those who know suffering AND joy! You guys have both!!! God Bless you and your family. I will enjoy reading more of what you have to say God will bring you all through this and I can’t wait to hear the song you sing!

    May God Grace you all with more Joy and Strength for the journey!
    Sandy O


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