It all started 5 years ago when Jake got laid off and his new job required a pre-employment physical. During the physical they heard a heart murmur and wouldn’t clear him for work until he had it looked at. They found a 8.5 cm aortic aneurysm which had already started to dissect. This means he had a bulge in the artery that supplies blood to your body and the layers of his artery had started to split allowing blood to leak between them. Without open heart surgery Jake had 3-6 months to live, so, surgery it was. After a successful surgery and long recovery Jake was as good as new. But it's not normal for people Jakes age to have an aneurysm like this so his doctors wanted to do some more tests. Jake was diagnosed with Loeys Dietz Syndrome (LDS), a genetic disorder affecting connective tissue including blood vessels, bones, ligaments, muscles and more. LDS can be linked to splenectomy and pectus excavatum surgeries Jake had when he was younger. If you think pectus excavatum sounds like a spell from Harry Potter :) please ask google for more info.
Two years after his first open heart surgery, part of Jakes femur shit the bed and fell off. He had one surgery to remove the bone pieces and after 4 months on the donor list he had a second surgery to place donor bone in his femur. After 3 years of hardworking Jake and Jess were back on their feet and in September of 2020 they bought a beautiful house. Jake has worked so hard to help make it home for his family.
Less than a month after buying their home Jake was diagnosed with Cancer. He had surgery to remove the Cancer. In January, Jake had a follow up scan to make sure the cancer had not spread. The good news, the doctors believe they got all of the cancer and will confirm with a scan in 6 months. The bad news, Jake has another aortic aneurysm, it's large and in a very dangerous spot for someone with LDS. Who knew cancer could be a blessing in disguise.
The doctors told Jake that he has a ticking time bomb in his chest but the doctors in VT felt surgery was too risky and wanted to wait 6 months to do another scan. So Jake and Jess pushed for a second opinion and went to Baltimore to see one of the doctors who discovered LDS. He said Jake absolutely needs surgery and he needs it now. So Jake will be going in for a second open heart surgery.This is where you come in, I need your help to help my wonderful friends. Jake is having surgery in Boston and will be there for a week or longer. The cost of traveling back and forth for surgery and the follow up appointments as well as the cost of the hotel so Jess can be with Jake, is only the beginning.
Jess will need time off from her two jobs to be with Jake in Boston and Jake will be out of work for a few months while he recovers. Unfortunately, the day to day bills and expenses of owning a home don’t have a pause button. Anything you are able to give will help offset the cost of medical bills, travel expenses and the unavoidable loss of work and income.
Through all of this Jake never stopped making us all laugh, serenading us with his angelic voice or masterful guitar skills and busting some pretty serious dance moves. (sorry Jake :) ) If you know Jake, Jess and Lily, you know how awesome they are and how much they deserve some help!
I can’t end this without telling you about Jake and Jessica's daughter Lily, the coolest 10 year old I know. She is beautiful inside and out. Lily was 5 when Jake had his first open heart surgery. If you have seen your parent sick you know how hard it is. Lily's resilience is to be admired. She is the perfect combination of funny like Jake and goofy like Jess but also wise beyond her years. The love and happiness is contagious when you are with these three.
Anything you are able to give will be appreciated beyond words. If you are unable to help monetarily please consider sharing this with your friends, saying a prayer or sending good vibes to Jake, Jess and Lily.
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