A 7-year-old Portland boy with a rare disease received a much-needed distraction from his condition Thursday when some of his local heroes stopped by for a visit.
Two Timbers players made a surprise stop at Doernbecher Children's Hospital to visit Jake Dering.
Jake has an unusual bone and joint syndrome that has already required 18 surgeries.
He had his most recent surgery Monday and, since then, his mom said he has been struggling with a lot of pain and discomfort.
But when Rodney Wallace and Mike Chabala walked into his room, his face and spirit lit up.
The Timbers players brought Jake a team jersey, hats, a scarf and more Timbers gear.
Jake's disease, called OPD Syndrome, causes his joints to be deformed and dislocated.
After surgery this week, his mother says this surprise has offered more healing than any medication ever could.
"We're trying to get him off the heavy meds and that transition is always hard," said Chellie Dering. "This is the first I've seen him be happy and smile and be awake for more than a few minutes. So it's fantastic and he's thrilled that they're here."
Jake's condition is so rare that only 60 cases like it have been confirmed worldwide in the last 50 years.
Doctors said Jake would not live past 6 months old, but he has proven them wrong.
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