Malta ultra-triathlete Fabio Spiteri has made an appeal on social media for assistance towards Jake Vella who is facing serious repercussions to his health following the government’s decision to stop all sporting activities until April 11 due to the rise of COVID-19.
Jake is around one of 75 people worldwide with ROHHAD (Rapid-onset Obesity with Hypothalamic dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation), a rare disease where obesity is hormonal, meaning that no matter how hard Jake trains or eats healthily, he cannot stop his body from gaining weight. To battle this condition, Vella needs to practice.
Unfortunately, due to his condition Jake, a former triathlete, was forced to stop running and cycling and the only sport he can practise is swimming.
Following the government’s decision to close down all pools and gym, Vella is unable to practise swimming to improve his mobility.
“The government’s latest measures have hit hard my friend Jake Vella,” Fabio Spiteri told The Times of Malta.
“He needs to train every day to improve his mobility but the government’s decision to close all pools have left no venue for Jake to train.
“Unfortunately, we hardly know anything about his ROHHAD condition, but I am 100 per cent sure that sporting activity keeps Jake alive.
“My appeal is quite clear, if there is somebody who has a heated indoor pool and is ready to offer Jake the possibility of swimming in it for at least three times a week up to April 11 please come forward and contact us.”
Spiteri also said that now is the time for the authorities to show how much they care for the health of Jake, who has been installed as one of the ambassadors of sport in Malta.
“What really hurts me is the fact that Jake has been made one of the ambassadors of sport in Malta and was involved in several ceremonies, but now that he needs vital assistance are we are going to turn our back on him?,” Spiteri said.
“I appeal the authorities to work hand in hand with his family and give assistance to Jake.”
Spiteri said that with the latest measures it’s not only Jake who is set to suffer.
“Unfortunately, in Malta there are so many children who suffer from other conditions, like autism or physical disabilities who for them their swimming sessions is a medium to enjoy themselves,” Spiteri said.
“Personally, I believe that venues such as the pool at Inspire, should be reopened just for these children so they can still swim under a safe protocol.”