Lubbock police asking for donations to help family of inspiratio - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock police asking for donations to help family of inspirational 7-year-old

Jace Ortiz was 7 years old (Source: LPD) Jace Ortiz was 7 years old (Source: LPD)
Jace Ortiz, Sergeant Jason Lewis LPD (Source: LPD Facebook) Jace Ortiz, Sergeant Jason Lewis LPD (Source: LPD Facebook)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

An Amarillo family is mourning the loss of an inspirational 7-year-old. Jace Ortiz spent his life in and out of surgery, battling a heart defect that ultimately led to his death on Feb. 10. He spent a lot of time at Covenant Hospital in Lubbock.

Jace was born with a heart defect that limited his time on earth and lead him to endure a short life full of happiness but one with great hardships. He had the first of six surgeries only six days after birth, and the second at 5 months. Jace’s health wasn’t showing any improvement and difficulty overcame the simple pleasures of life. By age four, Jace had an open heart Fontan surgery that ultimately failed and caused him to develop a condition that resulted in severe loss of protein known as protein-losing enteropathy. His body was unable to retain protein causing his health to decline drastically leaving him unable to perform the simple tasks a four-year-old should.

Jace was on a special protein diet that developed into a passion for cooking. He shared this love for cooking with the people around him. He would make lunch for dad every day and enjoyed helping cook for family dinners. 

Jace also had a deep love for law enforcement. He idolized police and firefighters, constantly watching shows like Chicago Fire and Chicago Med.

Sergeant Jason Lewis became aware of Jace's love for policemen as well as the trip Jace would soon have to make for the heart transplant to Houston. In an effort to lift his spirits, Sergeant Lewis took the time to visit Jace and was highly successful in his goal. Sergeant Lewis shared with Jace's parents that "it was an absolute honor to meet him (Jace). The strength behind his smile was obvious, Jace was the strongest person in the room. I am grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to meet him. Jace positively impacted my life from the first time I met him." 

Before he died, Jace formed a special friendship with LPD Sgt. Jason Lewis, who spent many hours talking with him. Jace loved his time with Sergeant Lewis, describing him to his mom as "an awesome man." He loved listening to Sergeant Lewis' police stories, about his personal family, and enjoyed pictures of his dog. Jace even saved a picture of himself and Sergeant Lewis as the background on his phone.

Officers with the Lubbock Police Department are asking the public to help this family cover the cost of the funeral expenses and medical bills for Jace. The family has set up a GoFundMe account.

You can also learn more and purchase a "Team Jace" shirt to help with these costs at teamjace.com.

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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