The Two Jakes

Numerous coincidences connect these two survivors of a rare brain disorder

Jacob Richard Jenne, left, and I, Jacob Richard Wray, have a lot more in common than just our names.

By Jake Wray

Encephalitis is a rare and serious illness that causes the brain to dangerously swell. It can be fatal. Those who survive it often live difficult lives, suffering from a slew of possible side-effects, such as seizures, hearing loss and mental illness.

When I was 11 years old I caught encephalitis, as did several other children in my small hometown of Smithers, B.C. We all made it through the ordeal, but we weren’t completely unscathed. Years after we got sick, I met and befriended Jake Jenne, who is one of the people who had been sick at the same time as me. He and I notice a number of striking similarities between our brains post-encephalitis.

For the full story, listen to the radio documentary below:

Interior News - Sept. 24, 2003 - edited
This article was published on Sept. 24, 2003 in my hometown’s local paper, The Interior News. I am named in the article, and one of the unnamed children is my friend Jake Jenne. Photo courtesy of Eric Holdijk/Bulkley Valley Museum.