Like Rudy, Jake was born with rare birth defects that necessitated the amputation of his legs. The family met with multiple doctors. Instead of offering hope, they focused on what Jake would not be able to do in his life. Fortunately, Julie and Steve saw Rudy on The Oprah Show. "It was just like someone unlocked the door. We knew that Jake's future was wide open," Julie says.
They played a tape of Rudy's 1999 Oprah Show appearance for a prosthetist. "I said, 'I want this for Jake.' And he said, 'That's no problem.'" Julie says. "He said, 'I know that kid, I know Rudy. His prosthetist is my brother.'"
Jake is now 8 and says he'd like to compete in the Paralympics, too, and he has a special message for Rudy—"Thank you for being a mentor."