"It’s a shame that it takes something like this happening to say, 'Hey, let’s get up and start living,' " says her father.

By Georgia Slater
September 17, 2019

A 24-year-old Colorado woman hopes to make the most of her numbered days by checking off as many items as she can from her newly created bucket list.

Jennifer Ortiz was 12-years-old when she had her first heart transplant. She was diagnosed with an enlarged heart after a trip to the emergency room with her mom while dealing with a long-lasting cough, Fox affiliate KDVR reported.

Her first transplant only worked for a few years before she was recommended and approved for a second transplant in 2017. However, she is now in heart failure, KDVR reports.

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Her father, Danny Ortiz, told the outlet she was recently denied her third transplant from UCLA, which recommended she go on palliative care, an end-of-life treatment plan.

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to have to think about burying your own child,” Danny said.

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Currently, Jennifer is surviving with the help of two black bags strapped across her chest, known as BiVADS. Since her current heart has no electric activity and is unable to beat on its own, according to KDVR, the devices in the bags pump blood to each side of her heart for her.

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However, “They’re not designed to be a total artificial heart,” Danny said, adding that Jennifer is the only person to use the BiVADs after two transplants and no heartbeat.

Being the first person to try this treatment, “We really don’t know what the future holds,” Jennifer told KDVR. “We don’t know how much time is left.”

That’s why she created her bucket list and set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised over $39,000 to date to help her “enjoy life to the fullest.”

“I am trying to fulfill my bucket list for not just me, but everyone who means so much to me. I want them to be able to have a good and positive memory that they can keep forever. Any help to get me to do these things, is greatly appreciated,” her page reads.

Her list includes tasks ranging from eating beignets in New Orleans and seeing Lizzo in concert, to renting a house in California to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family, which she hasn’t done in five years.

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Jennifer said that while there are many other places she would like to visit, she needs to go to places that are safe, with “good healthcare in case something happens.”

Other items on her bucket list include visiting Italy, New York, Spain, Dubai and Morocco as well as meeting the Jonas Brothers and Bruno Mars.

“We’ve got to condense a lifetime into as much time as we have,” Danny added. “It’s a shame that it takes something like this happening to say, ‘Hey, let’s get up and start living.’ “

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