DES MOINES, Iowa — Kemery Ortega’s will to survive isn’t without a parent’s pain. “They couldn’t get the bullet out of her head. The bullet is still there,” said Kemery’s mother Miriam Montiel.
Miriam and Reyes Ortega have been by their daughter’s hopsital bed around the clock since she was shot last Monday on the grounds of East High School along with Jessica Lopez who is still in critical condition and Jose Lopez who died. Miriam said, “When I saw the incision on her head and seeing how much she struggles and how much her life changed all of the sudden it has been heartbreaking.”
Miriam says doctors gave her daughter long odds in her recovery. “Her speech was going to be affected at least that’s what the surgeon said.”
The progress Kemery’s mother has documented through videos has been jaw dropping. Kemery is walking and talking. “It was amazing to see her waking up and as soon as she opened her eyes she looked at me and she waved at me. With that strength that’s when I felt hope in my heart,” Miriam said.
Kemery was transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit Monday exactly one week after the shooting. “The words they (doctors) were saying is that you don’t see this happening very often and that’s why they were calling her a miracle.”
Reyes wishes a miracle wasn’t necessary. While talking in spanish and with Miriam translating, Reyes said, “I felt angry, I felt anxious and desperate.”
He was on his way to East High when the shooting happened. “He was about to pick her up. He was driving and was real close to the school when the patrols came and they closed the streets,” said Miriam.
Now the community support has filled the family with love. Not only east school but the whole Des Moines area has been sending prayers and thoughts offering help.” Miriam also has had an overflowing show of support from Lenox community where Kemery spent most of her life before moving to Des Moines for her senior year of high school.
When Kemery awoke from surgery the next day after being shot her first concerns shocked even her mother. The senior East High School student simply cared about graduating on time with her classmates. “I’m not gonna have time to finish all this because I’m in the hospital. I said ‘Take it easy and we will see what is going to happen with school,'” said Miriam.
With six juveniles jailed for their roles in the shootings both parents say there’s no room for hate, only their daughter’s healing. Miriam said, “All we want is just our daughter to be fine and all we hope is these kids that did that can find God.”
GoFundMe Fundraisers for shooting victims
- Kemery Ortega – help pay for medical bills and expenses
- Jose David Lopez Perez – help cover funeral expenses
- Jessica Lopez – help to cover medical bills and other expenses