PASCO, WA - An eighth grade student at Ochoa Middle School in Pasco is receiving some special encouragement on his journey to walk again.
Seahawks fan, Jose Ortiz got a special surprise from his hero recently; an autographed photograph addressed to him from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
"Jose is an awesome student who is facing a lot of challenges," says Ochoa Principal Jacqueline Ramirez. "When the personalized gift was presented to him, he had tears in his eyes."
Ramirez says for several years, Ortiz has struggled with health issues and has been confined to a wheelchair at times.
Last year, substitute teacher Mari Lou Shea and school nurse Amber Bowers took the initiative to do everything they could to ensure he walks and dances-another of his favorite things-in the near future.
Bowers has worked with Ortiz and connects his love for dancing and the Seahawks in ways to encourage him to continue his physical therapy while in school and during the summer.
Several months ago Shea wrote to Wilson and told him Ortiz's story. She says Wilson's response has Ortiz, so she also wrote in to the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
"Last year Jose was walking with crutches in our hallways at times. He was going through some hard times and for a while had given up on walking and dancing," Ramirez said. "Mary Lou and Amber rekindled this hope in him, and this school year he was the manager to the Ochoa Dance team."
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