Jake Vella is an inspiration. In the past couple of days, he gained some attention as the Maltese and Gozitan population stormed to his defence following a tasteless meme aimed at ridiculing him. The meme which revolved around a disgusting fat joke was met with a swarm of negative feedback, reaching nearly a thousand comments including a ton of angry reactions.
Naturally, such online activity has sparked comments from his mother, Marouska Vella, who condemned such actions, labelling them as mean and idiotic. She also stated that such attempts to degrade make them even stronger and expressed her gratitude towards the Maltese and Gozitans for the waves of support received.
Jake Vella suffers from ROHHAD, a rare condition where only seventy-five cases are known worldwide. Unfortunately, the condition is incurable and can be fatal, with the longest-living survivor reaching just twenty-two years of age. This condition adds weight even if one is constantly exercising and eating healthy. To battle this condition Jake trains regularly out of necessity, for survival.
In support of Jake, Triathlon Malta created their own meme which was also a hit and managed to entice others to create similar memes. The controversy was also addressed by prominent political figures such as Clifton Grima and Pierre Portelli, who condemned the severity of such online bullying.
This is not the first time that the Maltese have expressed their unwavering support to Jake. The eight-year-old was rushed to the hospital a few weeks ago and was placed under the care of the Intensive Treatment Unit at Mater Dei hospital. He spent around a month there and was released just in time to enjoy Christmas with his family.
He was taken to the Intensive Treatment Unit after he lost consciousness and fell on the floor. The boy signalled a sign of courage and strength by his eyes to those who surrounded him, upon his arrival at the Intensive Treatment Unit.
Jake is renowned for his grit and determination to participate in sport due to his rare condition. His battle with this disease has captured the hearts, prayers and admiration of many. His lifelong dream became a reality when he met the Brownlee Brothers, his athletic role models. They flew to Malta to participate in the Super League triathlon and committed themselves to meet Jake.
From the team here at Business or Pleasure, we are with you all the way in your journey Jake!