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Kids Doing Good Stuff: Teeing off for Shriners Hospital

Jake Dering, during an interview with KATU News. (KATU Photo)

Jake Dering is in Las Vegas this week, representing Portland Shriners Hospital for Children at a PGA Tour golf event.

Jake, 13, was born with a rare genetic condition called otopalatodigital syndrome type 2. He’s had 25 surgeries in his life, and he’s getting ready for number 26.

“Pretty much head to toe,” he said during a recent interview with KATU. “I’ve hearing loss. I have no bone in my nose. I have a lot of problems with my neck – a ton in my back, and mostly in my legs. When I was born, I had dislocated hips, knees and ankles.”

Doctors have done a lot of work just to help him walk. It’s miraculous to see how far he’s come physically, but perhaps more impressive is his mental strength.

“When you’re disappointed, frustrated, think of something you are really looking forward to that will help you a lot,” he said.

Jake’s passion is golf.

“After school I tend to go hit balls with some of my friends. It’s a peaceful game,” he said. “It’s fun because you can work on skills and get better and better.”

It’s one sport that welcomes him.

“The nice thing about golf is that most of the sports I can’t play – like football. There’s a lot of stuff that if I were to play, I could maybe die or something like that. So golf is a sport that I can play.”

As for his trip to Vegas, he’s excited about meeting professional players and getting their signatures, but he’s especially excited about why he’s there.

“I’m very thankful that I’m the one who’s supposed to be representing Shriners, because it’s one of the best hospitals out there. I really love Shriners,” he said.

Jake is scheduled for his 26th surgery when he returns.

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