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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Email Update from Greg

Good evening, friends and family.  It is seems impossible that I have not sent an email to this group since last July, but I think that is the case.  I know some of you are subscribed to our blog ( and get updates as they’re posted, but many of you are not, so I wanted to be sure to update you on the foundation.  I have also added some folks to the list.  There are many events coming up this year that we wanted to make you aware of so you can mark your calendars.

First of all, as you may know, it was Oakes’ 2nd birthday a week ago today.  Our family celebrated by visiting St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and presenting a large donation of toys, books, mats (for playing w/your baby on the ground; these are in HIGH demand there), a bunch of boppies (again, a very high demand item in the CICU) and, of course, cupcakes for the staff.  Little did I know, they had two surprises for us.  One, was a gorgeous and delicious cake that Kym Galbraith made for us, complete with the MOHF tree logo on top (Kym is starting a cake business on the side which will be incredibly successful!)  After some cake, a few of the staff took us to a crosswalk that connected a couple buildings on the campus.  They said they had tried to think of a great gift for Oakesie’s birthday and then Kym asked us to look down from the crosswalk.  There, in the middle of a gorgeous lawn of grass was a newly-planted white oak tree, complete with heart and star ornaments dangling in the rain.  It was Oakesie’s Oak Tree!  Somehow, the CICU staff had received approval from SLCH’s board and Washington University Medical Center to plant a tree in Oakes’ honor.  There is a perfect sign in front of the tree that reads “In celebration if the precious life of Oakes “Oaksie” Lee Ortyl.  A teacher and a brave, spirited warrior.”  I couldn’t have said it any better.  Of course, this was an extremely emotional moment, a crazy emotional few days, in fact, as his birthday approached.  The location is perfect as it sits directly under Room 9 in the CICU, Oakes’ home for much of his life.  The tree is visible from Room 9 and several other rooms in the CICU.  A white oak tree can live for 300-400 years.  I told Isla that she can take her kids and grandkids to the tree some day and tell them about their Uncle Oakes.  As much as I was dreading the day as it approached, the gift that the staff and hospital gave to us made March 10, 2013 one of the best days of my life.  It was awesomely perfect!  And we cannot thank them enough.  Pictures, of course, are attached.

Ok, now on to the event list.  The first couple require some action fairly fast if you want to participate.  So, let me throw some bullets at you all here:

·         GO! Marathon on April 7th in St. Louis.
o   Rob and Sarah Skinner, friends and new neighbors, had the idea to have a Mighty Oakes GO! Marathon team. 
o   Rob, Sarah and several other of our friends are rounding people up and convincing (coercing, bribing, demanding!) them to run.  There are even options to run smaller segments of a marathon and team with others to accumulate the 26 miles.
o   The team is getting their friends and family to donate to their team and all proceeds are going to MOHF.
o   Also, we are selling very sharp-looking, red, dry-fit MOHF shirts that all the GO! participants will wear.
o   To order a shirt or to join the team, go to our blog ( for all of the details, including a picture of the shirt and how to order.  The blog entry will be about the third one down, so you’ll have to scroll just a bit.  The shirts are $20 each and to get the shirts made in time, the last day to order these shirts is Wednesday, March 20th.
·         Congenital Heart Night at the Ballpark – Greg Ortyl throws out ceremonial first pitch – on Saturday, May 18th at Busch Stadium around 5:15pm (an hour before the “real” first pitch).
o   In a most humbling experience, I was asked by Lena Morsch, a member of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and a survivor of a congenital heart defect herself, to throw out the first pitch at Congenital Heart Night.  Lena has been following our story and she has become a good friend over the last couple of years.  I, of course, said yes.  I cannot wait to honor Oakes with Isla at my side on the field.
o   No, I am not practicing.  I refuse to.  By the time they put me in front of the mound so I don’t mess it up, I’ll be 55 feet or less from the 5th outfielder who will draw the shortest straw to catch my throw.  I’ll be fine.
o   We have been asked to sell a few hundred tickets and we have also created fun MOHF/Cardinals gear since the Cardinals have approved of MOHF using their logo.
o   So two ways to participate:
§  Go to, click “To reserve your tickets now” and sign up for tickets and/or shirts/hats (and of course, we have adult AND kids sizes).
§  Go to if you only want to purchase shirts/hats.
o   The game is 60 days away, so we don’t have much time to get tickets sold and distributed.  Once your order is placed, we’ll be putting packages together and shipping them to you (that price is included in your purchase).
o   A couple classic pictures of my family and the Cardinals are attached as well, including the one time Oakes was outside in his last 11 months, when we were able to visit the hospital’s garden on the eighth floor.  Yes, Oakesie was the reason we won it all in 2011!
·         Rock n’ Roll Marathon on October 27th in St. Louis.
o   My sister, Shani, is rounding up a team for this marathon.  Isn’t there a beer-drinking fundraiser we can do?  Why do we have to run until we pass out?  I’ll have to work on that….
o   Keep close to the blog for all of the details.
·         2nd Bi-Annual Dinner-Auction event.
o   Most of you attended or, undoubtedly, heard about our first dinner-auction, the Planting A Seed event held in November of 2011.  There was less than 100 days or so to plan that event, but it was a booming success and the most fun I have ever had at an auction like that.  Of course, most of the credit goes to Ellen Moriarty for managing that event and we had dozens of friends and family help us to raise well over $100k that night.  That was just a warm-up.  This time we have over six months to plan.
o   We are still solidifying a date, but it will be in the first couple weeks of November, 2013, so keep that in mind as we get our ducks in a row.  It will be held in a fabulous, St. Louis landmark location and we hope to bring in over 300 attendees (up from 180 in 2011).
o   We have SO MUCH great information to share – families we have helped, friends we have made, nurses we have spoiled – and we can’t wait for this event!  Stay tuned for more on this….

That is all for now, but there are a couple other great events in the works, but it is too early to announce at this point.  I promise I will not barrage you all with emails, but I will keep you posted on our successes and our upcoming events.  Thanks for listening tonight and thanks for all of your love and support.


Greg, Becky, Isla Ortyl
Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baseball tickets for sale!!!

Hello Friends!
Back in January I shared that we had been asked to participate in the Congenital Heart Night at Busch stadium and we are starting to sell tickets to that game now!

We have a page set up on our website where you can not only buy tickets to the game but you can also buy some super stylish and super mighty merchandise.

Please check it all out! We will stop selling merchandise in mid-April, so please put this on your to-do list, and get over and make a purchase before it is too late!

We are SO very excited about the game. Greg is as cool as a cucumber when the topic comes up and I start doing a little jig - which is REALLY weird for each of us to react in these ways! Isla seems to follow my lead but then she will get really serious and explain that she DOES NOT want to see Fred bird that day. That being said, I think we will all shed a few tears at the stadium!

  Two Falls ago, Isla in her Cards gear cheering the Red birds on....

 And Oakesie in his....

In the next day or two we hope to share more exciting news about the game and an extra special person that will be joining Greg on the field in the pre-game ceremony. Details are not final so I can't blab about it, but as soon as I can, I will. I think all Oakesie lovers, SLCH fans, CHD supporters and Mighty Oakes Heart Foundation friends will be excited to hear this news.

Ok, so for now.....please go and shop!
Be Mighty and GO CARDS!

And if you do not want tickets to the game, but only want to shop for some super mighty merchadise you can go to this link....

Feel free to message me with any questions or issues at all!

Monday, March 11, 2013

MOHF shirts for sale!

Hello Friends!
I have several posts that are lined up from this week, but to start I wanted to share that we are selling Red dry-fit MOHF shirts for the upcoming GO! St. Louis Marathon.

What you should know about the shirts:

These are athletic shirts and the fit is snug, so if you may want to consider going up a size when ordering. Here is the manufacturers description of the shirt: 100% Polyester Interlock, 4 oz. Cooling Performance Crew. Odor resistant. Stain release. Ultra tight knit resists snagging. Sizes small – 4XL.

AND we do have these is kids sizes small (like sizes 2-4), medium (6-8) and large (10-12).
It is not pictured but "Be Mighty!" is printed in white across the back!

Details on ordering:
We are taking orders now until March 20th.

To order please message me your specifics.( Then go to our website and make a donation. Shirts are $20 each, and if we will be mailing to you we ask that you include another $3. When you donate, please make a note that your donation is for a shirt order and make sure to include your mailing address. Once we get your order and donation confirmation we will confirm your order via email!

Pick up/ delivery details:

If you are in town you can pick up your shirt on Friday, April 5th at Provalo Deli in Webster Groves. Our friends at Provalo will be hosting a Sidewalk Pick- up party for MOHF, including a band, sidewalk chalk, bubbles and dinner deals for everyone! Even if you are not running, please plan to stop by and encourage our GO! Marathon runners who will be there carbo-loading for Sundays big run!

Paisley Boutique, which is next door to Provalo will be gifting 25% of proceeds that day to MOHF, so make sure to slip into Paisley before you head home and pick up something cute for the Spring! You can always call in an order after looking at the website!

About the GO!
If you are running the GO! and want to join the MOHF team, let me know! We are not an official registered team, rather a group of MOHF supporters that will join up on race day to run in honor of Oakes with our fashionable shirts on! Race day is Sunday, April 7th. If you have not registered there is still time! And you can always just do the half if the full marathon sounds like too much!

If you would like a MOHF shirt but do not specifically want the athletic dry-fit shirt, hold you horses! We have been working for months on an upcoming selection of MOHF  merchandise including a variety of Tshirts, polo shirts, baseball hats and a visor. I hope to share more details on this in a few days!

Thank you all for your support, especially our Webster Pres friends that sparked this entire event! We are blessed to be surrounded by friends and family that are always reaching out to us with creative ways to help and get involved!

Be Mighty!