Orofino teen battling rare disease, still finds time to give back

Orofino teen battling rare disease, still finds time to give back
OROFINO - Senator Mike Crapo visited Orofino Thursday to meet with a special young man.

19-year-old Jacob Walk has type-2 neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder where tumors grow on his nerves. Walk said he was battling for Social Security for years before Crapo stepped in.

"Being able to say thank you for saving my son because I feel that if it wasn't for him (Crapo) getting involved, Jacob would still be waiting to get his insurance," said Loretta Walk, Jacob's mother. "And his last surgery actually moved the brain stem and it started to affect his hearing, it started to affect the left side of his body. If he was still waiting, who knows what would have happened by the time he would have gotten it."

Jacob said this summer he had his eighth brain surgery.

"I was able to have my surgery done, as well as I've been needing to have some dental work done, I was able to do that. Still a little tricky because not everyone takes Medicaid," said Jacob.

Jacob said within a week of talking to Crapo's office he was approved for assistance.

"We've had in just the state of Idaho over 200 cases this year similar to Jacob's," said Crapo. "In Jacob's case, if I understand correctly, he had filed for Social Security disability had been denied, if you can believe it, and then denied again, and then was on appeal and the system was not working."

Crapo applauded Jacob for embodying "the spirit of Idaho" by volunteering his time.

"I volunteer at the teen center, I'm their network administrator and I help my former health teacher teach health," said Jacob. "It's not much but it's something I can still do with my limited physical state. I can at least give something back to society, since I have to draw off taxpayers."