Ultra-endurance Maltese swimmer Neil Agius gifted Jake Vella a soft toy of the 2004 Olympic Games mascot he had received when competing in the competition to keep the young athlete company as faces his latest medical challenge.
Neil also gifted Jake a diary, with the idea that hospital visitors should sign it and leave him a message.
“Came to visit this legend today,” Neil said, as he posted a photo of himself and Jake.
“It’s always great spending time with you, Jake. You are an inspiration not only to me, but to everyone in Malta and beyond.”
“If we only we had half the strength and determination that you show us every single day. Well done. Keep showing the world that giving up is not an option.”
Jake has stolen the nation’s hearts as battles a rare condition called ROHHAD (Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic dysfunction, Hypoventilation, and Autonomic Dysregulation).
This condition impacts his hormones, and makes it extremely difficult to lose weight, no matter how hard he trains or the healthy lifestyle he leads.
Jake has run, cycled and swam his way through hundreds of kilometres and last year was inspired by Neil to complete a staggering 100km swim aimed at raising funds for abandoned animals and raising awareness about plastic pollution.
He was also named Bulletproof’s Most Inspirational Athlete of 2021.
Stay strong Jake!