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Arianna Chernove's Fundraiser:

Jake's Fund

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BENEFITING:

Arianna Chernove

THE STORY:

On June 23, 1996, Valerie and Jim Clark (Gary’s sister and brother-in-law), were blessed with the birth of their first child, Jake. Jake has been a treasure to the entire family since the day he was born, with his Dad’s blinding red hair and boisterous personality. In so many ways, Jake is like every other boy -- he loves sports and video games. But Jake is also very caring, feels deeply, and has a gentle heart, which has made him an amazing son, a loving big brother to his sister Emily and brother Sammy, and a great cousin to more cousins than we have room to list!

On July 19, 2006, when Jake was 10 years old, Jake experienced what we have all experienced many times -- the bite of a mosquito. For us, this is a minor and temporary irritation. But the mosquito that bit Jake on that day was infected with a disease similar to West Nile Virus. As a consequence, Jake contracted Viral Encephalitis, an infection associated with swelling of the brain. This swelling resulted in Jake being in a coma and caused damage to his brain. Additionally, ever since he was bitten, he has suffered uncontrolled seizures on a regular basis and has had several near death experiences as a result. Over the past 6 years, Jake has consulted with countless doctors and specialists, visited numerous hospitals, and taken every possible drug to help control his seizures. None of these efforts have been successful. Jake recently was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic where he is undergoing evaluation to determine if he is a candidate for brain surgery in order to help control his seizures.

The physical effects on Jake from his seizures is beyond what most of us can imagine. In addition, it has taken an enormous emotional toll on his entire family. Most of us cannot fathom what Jake endured as a 10-year-old going through all of this -- he was not old enough to understand what was happening to him or why. Jake just turned 16 and while most of his friends are getting their driver’s licenses, Jake is facing the realization that he may never be able to drive a car or have a regular professional career because of the risks associated with his seizures.

Despite all of these experiences and challenges, including the effects on Jake’s brain, there has been no effect on this young man’s heart. Jake is an inspiration to everyone who knows him. He faces adversity with a smile and sense of humor (as demonstrated by his relentless teasing of his Uncle Gary) and still thinks of others before he thinks of himself. He is full of love and laughter, and cherishes his parents, sister and brother (much more than the typical teenagers of today!).

The financial costs associated with Jake’s illness have been astronomical and, unfortunately, many of Jake’s medical expenses have not been covered by insurance. This has put a significant financial strain on the family. Jim works two jobs to help pay for Jake’s medical treatments and to provide for the entire family. As Jake reaches adulthood, it is not clear whether he will be able to obtain health insurance and, even if he can, it will be extremely expensive and will not cover all of his expenses. Consequently, in addition to receiving our love, Jake needs our help to prepare him for the day when he graduates from high school and will face medical and other expenses while facing limitations on his ability to earn a living.

Because Jake is such an inspiration to us, and the Clark family is so dear to our heart, we can think of no better way to celebrate our love than to show our support for Jake and help him in any way that we can. By clicking on the link below, you will be taken to a website where you can help Jake and his family.

Thank you for joining us in our love and support for Jake.

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Arianna is working on selecting a charity so you can support Jake's Fund.