The Detroit Pistons’ longest-tenured employee is a 22-year-old ball boy named Jake. He’s been with the team for six years, and he’s seen it all. But there’s one thing he’s never seen before: himself almost die.
Last year, Jake was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called Fabry disease. Fabry disease is a life-threatening condition that causes the buildup of a fatty substance called ceramide in the body’s cells. This can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
Jake’s diagnosis came as a shock to him and his family. He had always been healthy and active, and he showed no symptoms of the disease. But within a few months of his diagnosis, Jake’s health began to deteriorate. He started experiencing fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
In December 2022, Jake’s condition became so critical that he was hospitalized. He spent the next five weeks in the hospital, where he underwent a series of tests and treatments. At one point, Jake was so close to death that his doctors had to put him on a ventilator.
But Jake pulled through. He was discharged from the hospital in January 2023, and he’s been slowly recovering ever since. He’s still undergoing treatment for Fabry disease, but he’s back to working as a ball boy for the Pistons.
“I’m so happy to be alive,” Jake said in an interview with USA Today. “I never thought I’d be able to come back to this job, but I’m so grateful that I can.”
Jake’s story is an inspiration to us all. It’s a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there’s always hope.