MDA: Tribute to Jake

10:27 PM, Aug 30, 2012   |    comments
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Jake Vollmer

By Mike Bush

Florissant, MO (KSDK) - A photo never tells the whole picture. You'd never know from these snapshots for instance, that Jake Vollmer was born with a deadly disease.

"He never crawled," said his mom, Julie. "He'd scoot on his butt and scoot along the floor."

When he was just a toddler, Jake was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the most severe form of MD. Instead of getting stronger, the disease causes muscles to get weaker as you grow.

We first met Jake when he was just 8-years-old at MDA Camp. At the time, he could still walk and even run but soon after reality hit home.

"When he started tripping and falling because his muscles were getting weaker," said Julie. "It was tough because then you can't deny it."

Fast forward to 2012 and meet 19-year-old Jake Vollmer, the high school graduate and St. Louis Cardinals fanatic. One need spend just a few minutes in his bedroom to realize his favorite color was red.

"He loves the Cardinals," said his mom. "He loves all sports, but the Cardinals and baseball, that's his thing."

In fact, his goal was to one day be a sportscaster for his favorite team.

"Play-by-play for the Cardinals," Jake said. "Because I like football, but I don't know as much about football."

For someone with MD, every year is a blessing. This past winter, Jake was rushed to the hospital with heart failure and spent several weeks in intensive care.

"One of the doctors told me he wasn't sure Jake was going to go home," said Julie.

But Jake bounced back to root on the Cardinals once more.

When asked about his favorite player, Jake Vollmer said, "Freese. David Freese."

It's one thing to have a favorite player, but it's another thing to get to meet him. With the help of the Cardinals, NewsChannel 5 arranged a day for Jake to watch batting practice, get some autographs and meet the World Series MVP. Jake said it was a great day.

Just two nights later, Jake, quietly and peacefully, passed away in his sleep. There is no cure for Muscular Dystrophy, but Jake fought it with courage and grace. Though he died still a student, he taught us all a lot: hope for tomorrow, but live for today.



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