Four-year old Lio keeps fighting, finds comfort in baseball

Lio Ortega is not your average four-year old. He has fought battles you would not wish on anyone.
Just before Lio was two and a half years old, he started having awful headaches. This led the Ortega family to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colo., where it was determined that Lio had two brain tumors behind his left ear. Between surgeries and chemotherapy, he spent most of the next six months in the hospital.
Between chemo sessions in May of 2016, Lio was feeling well enough to go to Falcon Field in Colorado Springs to see the University of New Mexico play Air Force in baseball. Lio’s dad, Fred, played for UNM baseball head coach Ray Birmingham at New Mexico Junior College. Lio got to meet Coach Birmingham and the entire UNM team after the game. An instant bond was formed. The team was inspired by Lio, and he found hope in himself by rooting for the Lobos.
UNM went on to win the Mountain West Conference. The Lobos sent Lio a signed conference championship T-shirt, batting gloves, caps and the most prized possession – a UNM batting helmet. Lio was rarely seen without the oversized helmet on.
In the summer of 2016, Coach Birmingham told Keeper of The Game Foundation Founder James Vilade about Lio’s story. Keeper of The Game was honored to send Lio and his family to a Colorado Rockies game decked out in Keeper gear.
In April of 2017, Coach Birmingham welcomed the Ortega family to Albuquerque, N.M., to have Lio throw out the first pitch of their series against Fresno State. Later that month, Lio played in his first T-ball game. He had made a fantastic recovery.
However, Lio’s summer of 2017 was going great until a regular quarterly MRI discovered an irregularity. This led to another MRI in July and another surgery from the spot where they removed the larger of the two tumors. The past three months have been filled with regular radiation treatments and now Lio is undergoing eight months of chemo treatments.
Please keep Lio and his family in your thoughts and prayers as the strong little guy fights the fight again. He is a Keeper and an inspiration to many.
To read a Albuquerque Journal articles about Lio, click here and here. To visit Lio’s GoFundMe page, click here.
-Story by Bryan Hoctor