Community establishes benefit fund for Ortiz

Appeal Feature Writer

A benefit fund for Katie Ortiz has been established at the Greater Nevada Credit Union. The account number is 783399, and donations may be made at any branch.

Ortiz recently underwent surgery for removal of a choroidal melanoma in her right eye. A choroidal melanoma is a tumor in the blood vessel layer "choroid" just beneath the retina. During the surgery, excessive bleeding caused the surgeon to have to remove her eye.

"It was the day God spared my life," said Ortiz.

The Ortiz family has no medical insurance. Katie's husband Daniel in November opened his own carpet cleaning business and Katie only works part time so she is not eligible for benefits. The cost to insure their family of four is too high for them to afford at this time.

Ortiz recently returned to San Francisco to her surgeon for a check-up. All was reported well, except the swelling has not gone down as much as the doctor would have liked. Because of this, Ortiz's appointment to have prosthesis work has been rescheduled.

Ortiz is scheduled to go to occularist Steve Young in Oakland, Calif., at the end of April for the prosthesis work. He will size, color, mold and fit Ortiz with the prosthetic eye. The process will take three days.

"The community has been so supportive through this whole thing, I just want them to know they are wonderful. We really appreciate their generosity.

"I have received about $3,000 in the fund and many of the people giving the money, we don't even know. God has truly blessed us."

Ortiz said Jack Reinhardt, coach of the Carson High School ski team, organized a skiathon and donated the proceeds to the fund. The Carson City Emblem Club No. 507 also donated $100.

"Our church and the Women's Aglow have been very helpful. The people are so gracious. They will be putting together fund-raisers in the next couple of weeks, after we have a better idea of what my medical bills will be."

Ortiz's medical costs so far are about $26,000. The Tumori Foundation, which helps defray the surgeon's cost, will cover about $12,000. Ortiz is still waiting on four bills to come in. She will send letters to each of the medical providers explaining her financial situation, asking them for any reduction in fees.

"We're still going by the grace of God and know He will take care of us. But my family and I are very appreciative to all who have helped."


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