About a month ago, Jesus Ortiz’s parents felt devastated and alone after seeing their son lay in a hospital bed unresponsive due to a brain hemorrhage.
But those sentiments turned into hope when a large support system visited their home Thursday.
In only a matter of minutes, the Ortiz household was sprinkled with holiday cheer as Golden Valley High School faculty and staff and other members of the community stopped by to deliver gifts, food and a Christmas tree for the home and Jesus’ hospital room.
“My heart is sincerely very full,” said Amzi Salinas, the 16-year-old Golden Valley student’s mother. “What can I tell them but more than a million thank yous and millions of blessings to them.”
On the night of Nov. 19, Ortiz experienced a severe headache, which led to brain damage as a result of a genetic malformation with a vein. He was then in a coma at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, where he currently resides.
The result of the terrifying night left the teenager unable to move or speak, with doctors fearing that he may not recognize his family. But Salinas received a sign of hope on Wednesday when she asked Ortiz to raise one of his fingers twice, and he did.
“This was great because this means he does understand me and he knows that I am his mother because doctors told us they didn’t know whether he was going to recognize us,” she said.
Joy didn’t end there as the family was surprised by Santa Claus, who delivered gifts to the family, including for Salinas and father Jorge Ortiz’s younger children, as part of the high school visit.
“We did some fundraisers and collected toys and things the family needed and gift cards from the community of Golden Valley to bring Christmas to the Ortiz family,” said Sal Frias, the school’s principal. “It’s not just take; it’s give.”
April Rego, a Golden Valley resource coordinator, said the haul was a great success among many who wanted to give to the family.
“We hope that they know that they matter and this community really wants to be a part of their life and their family,” she said.
The family has received an outpouring of support from the community, including a check from an anonymous donor, a care bed, and donations by many through a GoFundMe page.