1. ITV Report

Woman with heart failure starts fundraising so she can complete her bucket list after being denied third transplant

Jennifer Ortiz, 24, was just 12 years old when she had her first heart transplant. Credit: GoFundMe

A Colorado woman has begun fundraising to complete her bucket list, after being denied a third heart transplant.

24-year-old Jennifer Ortiz was just 12 years old when she had her first heart transplant.

She was recommended and approved for a second transplant in 2017, however her second heart has been failing and she has been denied a third heart for fear her body wouldn't be able to withstand the surgery.

Things took a turn for the worst, when medical professionals recommended Jennifer be put in palliative care.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have to think about burying your own child,” her father Danny Ortiz told KDVR.

She has been reliant on a biventricular assist device (BiVAD) - two bags with straps - that help pump blood through the heart, but it may not be enough.

“They’re not designed to be a total artificial heart," Danny said.

She is the first person to have had two heart failures and be on the BiVAD treatment, and doctors are uncertain about how much time she has left.

Jennifer has since started a GoFundMe page asking for donations to help her to enjoy the remaining days of her life to the fullest.

On the crowdfunding platform, she wrote: “My body isn’t doing as well as I would like and my options are limited to nonexistent at this point.

“Not knowing what the future holds for me and that I am already on borrowed time, I am looking to live the rest of my life the best way possible.

"I am scared and sad but am trying to stay as positive as I possibly can. I am looking forward to seeing friends and family and spending quality time with loved ones.

"I am wanting to spend more time out of the hospital and enjoy what life has left for me.

"Without working it does make things financially challenging."

Jennifer's bucket list reads:

  • New Orleans; to eat Beignets, go to Bourbon, watch the Cowboys vs Saints
  • Go to Dubai; Burj Khalifa, Underwater Aquarium
  • New York; go to a Broadway show, see the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, dinner with my east coast friends
  • Italy; Rome, Venice (gondola ride), Lake Como
  • London; London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace
  • Spain; Barcelona, Madrid
  • Attend a taping of Ellen
  • Meet the Jonas Brothers (I already have tickets for October 2)
  • Go to Morocco and ride camels through the desert
  • Meet Bruno Mars
  • To see Lizzo in concert
  • Go to a home game to watch the Cowboys
  • To see Avril Lavigne in concert
  • California; rent a house to celebrate Thanksgiving with my entire family
Credit: GoFundMe/Jennifer and Mark Ekiss

She has so far raised two-thirds of her $75,000 (£60,250) goal as of Friday afternoon.

Jennifer posted an update on Friday to take everyone who had contributed so far.

“I want to thank everyone for the amount of support, love and prayers I have received this past week. I am overwhelmed with the generosity so many have shown me.”

Jennifer (left) has asked for donations to help her enjoy the remaining days of her life to the fullest. Credit: GoFundMe/KatrinaRosas

While Jennifer won’t be able to get a new heart, she also urged people to research becoming a donor so they can help give someone a “second chance at life”.

“Donate Life is a great way for people like myself to continue living through transplant on donors. I urge everyone to research more about Donate Life and even consider being an organ donor," she wrote.

"My entire family is and will forever be thankful for every donor.

“Although I won’t be getting a new heart, I hope informing everyone of this necessity can change a life.

“You can help give someone a second chance at life, and I think that is the most amazing thing ever."