My dad's name is Jack Ort.In 1972, he took me to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game. I don’t remember too much about the game other than I loved being there with Dad. In the years to follow we would see many more ballgames together, many of them with him carrying me to the car after the game in his strong arms. We followed our favorite team as they won the 1979 World Series!
Dad also loved going to the stock car races. The various dirt tracks around the area were always a favorite place to go on a Friday or Saturday night, where we’d stay late and I would be too tired to get to the car myself and, again, Dad would carry me. He was strong. He was my hero.
He served in the United States Air Force before I was born and then worked at a machine shop as a hard-working blue collar employee. Mom and us kids would pick him up when he worked the late shift and when all the workers exited the plant, I could always pick out my dad from the crowd of tired workers. I couldn’t wait until he got into the car and tell us about his job.
Dad eventually went back to school to enter the medical field, working two jobs to support our family. After nurses training, he got a job at the hospital and also worked on an ambulance crew as a side job. His daily routine now consisted of saving people’s lives. During these years, Mom and Dad fostered nearly 30 different children who were from various heartbreaking situations.
After Dad retired from the hospital, he couldn’t sit still so he spent another 15 years working with severely handicapped children until he couldn’t work any more.
Clearly, my dad had a heart for helping people who were sick, weak, incapacitated or just needed some tender loving care.
In 2010, Dad was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma. It was devastating for the whole family. He underwent a very successful chemotherapy treatment and went into remission within several months. He gained his strength back and resumed somewhat normal activity, but the medical bills had begun to pile up - especially since Mom had her own bout with leukemia several years earlier.
But as the doctors had warned in 2010, Dad would not stay in remission for more than a couple years. In 2014, the lymphoma came roaring back with a vengeance. In October of last year, his thoughts of the lymphoma were interrupted by a sudden issue with his heart. After a visit to the emergency room on a particular Sunday night, the doctors kept him there to do open heart surgery. The operation was amazingly successful.
After this major medical event, Dad debated whether or not to attempt another chemotherapy campaign. The lymphoma was progressing and starting to suck the life out of him. He decided the chemo was worth a try again, especially given the success of the heart surgery. He wanted to live!
The chemo was brutal this time. He began to get very sick. He lost so much weight. He became very weak. The strong man that once carried me to the car after the Pirate games and after the stock car races had been reduced to skin and bones. The man who had saved so many lives and who had given himself to so many handicapped and struggling children was now himself struggling to live. He couldn’t eat. He was thin. He was weak. He was discouraged and frustrated. At times, he looked as though he would not live another day.
After six months of fighting with this terrible disease, Dad finally started to feel a little better. His appetite slowly returned and he started to gain some weight. His skin color started looking better and his voice did not seem so tired. His strength was beginning to return! God had answered so many prayers! The doctors were happy to report recently that he is in remission once again... and for that, we are all very thankful!
The hard part for him now is seeing the pile of medical bills that must be paid. While he did have some payments from Medicare, there is still a vast amount of money that he owes for all his treatments. We know that the Lord will provide for his every need... and maybe you are part of the Lord’s plan to help out. We would be very grateful for your participation in our campaign to pay off his remaining medical bills. Thank you!