Back in the day, before I was in arts ministry full-time, Christine and I had the chance to serve as youth directors at a small church outside of Tacoma, Washington. It was our first time working with High School kids, but we loved every minute of it. Among those kids was a gifted teenager named Jake. I came across this article about Jake from KOMO News in Seattle…Life is quite a bit different for him today. Please read his story and add him to your prayers…thanks!


By Elisa Jaffe

Watch the story

PARKLAND, Wash. – Overweight and overwhelmed, a 22-year-old student at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma is afraid that without intervention, he’ll die. But his mother’s health insurance won’t cover gastric bypass surgery – a pricey procedure that the family can’t afford on its own. And now he’s hoping that the generosity of the community will help where insurance won’t. Jake Paikai weighs more than 600 pounds – but since he doesn’t own a scale big enough to handle his weight, he doesn’t know how much more. His best guess is 650 pounds.

His mom, Mimi Sprinkle, says he’s always been a “chunky little monkey.” “He never had a chance, never had a chance,” she says. Jake can’t reach his own shoes, sit in most chairs or fit behind a steering wheel. “I can’t drive, I can’t go on planes, I can’t step on a bus – very few cars I can ride in,” he says. Jake’s mom drives him to class at Pacific Lutheran University.

Mimi says she knows what it’s like to be morbidly obese – she weighed more than 500 pounds before her stomach stapling. “Every night I go to sleep, and I wonder if he’s gonna be there tomorrow,” she says. Jake also worries that tomorrow might not come for him. “You know, I really can only go about 20 feet before I’m completely winded,” he says.

Together with his friends, he’s asking for the public’s help. They’ve launched a Web site called mybypasssurgery.com, which they hope will help raise tens of thousands of dollars to help Jake and others who need similar surgery. “I need help. Others need help. Let’s do something about it,” Jake says. His mom told KOMO News, “We’ve got great insurance, and it’s not covered.” At college, Jake has a 3.9 grade point average, but weight stands in his way of bigger dreams. He doesn’t just want to walk – he wants to run, with the same kinds of hopes and dreams other folks have.

Most patients pay between $50,000 and $80,000 for a gastric bypass. So far, Jake has raised about $2,800.


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