NewsArizona News


Valley girl dies unexpectedly, parents donate her organs

Posted at 10:26 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 09:10:57-05

A Valley family is finding the silver lining during an unexpected tragedy. It started on Super Bowl Sunday with a sudden sickness.

"She was just not feeling well, so we gave her ibuprofen," said Stephanie Butler, the mother of 7-year-old Jessalyn Ortega.

Stephanie and Jessalyn's father, Jesse, took their child to the doctor on Monday, but were told she was suffering from a virus.

Two more days went by and Jessalyn still wasn't better. Doctors didn't know how bad her illness was, or why.

"When we went back to the doctor's office she started seizing," Butler explained.

Less than 24 hours later, Jessalyn was brain dead.

"It was like a nightmare. I was kind of in a fog," Butler said.

"You don't know what's going on really; Just trying to make sense of everything," father Jesse Ortega added.

The only thing that made sense to the parents was to donate their daughter's organs.

Jessalyn's heart saved a 6-year-old boy. An 8-year-old received her liver. A 31-year-old woman is now living with her kidney and a 63-year-old received her pancreas.

Butler and Ortega hope to meet those recipients one day.

"We figured it was the best thing to do, the only right thing to do," they said.

You can help the family here.