When you think of 10-year-old girls, you might think of American Girl Dolls, hair braiding, and softball. You might think of sleepovers and giggles and drawing pictures covered with hearts. But tragically, the parents of 10-year-old Anna Ortega are facing the grim prognosis that their 10-year-old girl may not enjoy these things much longer. Anna has been diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma Grade III, an inoperable, aggressive, cancerous tumor. And doctors say this tumor will take her life.
In March, after a few days of blurry vision, Anna’s parents Ted and Mindi took her to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital where she had a CT scan and MRI. The prognosis was something they could never have imagined. Tests revealed two tumors, one of which was removed on March 30. The other was found in her brain stem, where doctors say it is inoperable and will take Anna from her loving family within the year. In a heartbreaking video shared on the family’s GoFundMe page, Anna’s father Ted remembers the painful moment a doctor told him: “We are sorry. There’s nothing we can do.”
But Ted and Mindi aren’t giving up yet.
Anna’s parents describe her as “kind to the core.” In that same video, Ted Ortega says that after her surgery, he found a Valentine from Anna in his journal, and that she’s known for leaving notes for her family on a weekly basis, telling them “how wonderful they are.” Anna herself talks about how she loves to play the piano and go to school and play with her friends.
But sadly, the things she loves are being stripped away from her with each passing day. In the clip, Mindi speaks of the painful day that Anna was playing piano, looked down at her hand and said, “Mommy, it’s not working.” Anna also talks about her future dreams: She wants to open a bakery and teach piano lessons.
“And I wish I could live until I was older so that I could have a family,” Anna says through her own tears.
The video is simply heartbreaking; because without a miracle cure, it does not look like Anna will ever have that chance. That’s why the Ortega family is asking for help. Traditional medicine isn’t offering hope, but Anna’s family is still fighting. They are seeking alternative paths and innovative treatments, which incur expenses not covered by insurance. With six other children to feed, the Ortegas cannot afford all that they need to do for their sweet Anna.
On the family’s GoFundMe page, Anna is described as “a true light to those around her and to this world.”
Anna is hope, her parents write.
Julie Porter, friend of the Ortegas and creator of the GoFundMe page, tells Babble that that statement couldn’t be more true.
“Anna IS hope,” says Porter. “She, her amazing parents and family, and their willingness to share sensitive and true feelings are reminding people what hope really is all about … A newscaster asked one of our friends recently why they are helping Anna when she’s not even their daughter. People could ask the same of me. My answer is, ‘Why would anyone not help Anna?’ She’s just truly good, and this world needs Anna.”
If you’d like to help support the Ortegas as they continue to hope and fight for this sweet child, you can do so here. We at Babble send our thoughts and prayers to the Ortegas, and hope that she someday, she will have her bakery and continue to spread her kindness throughout the world.