photo from Jake Picker facebook page
Remembering the Bartonella advocate, educator, and inspirational force who made a profound impact on the Bartonella patient community.
In memory of Jake Picker, affectionately known as the "Bartonella Babe," we reflect on the profound impact she had on the patient community. On January 20, 2024, Jake passed away peacefully at the age of 30, surrounded by loved ones at her California home. Her journey was marked by a five-year struggle with a complex gastrointestinal illness, compounded by mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and Bartonella infection. Despite enduring constant pain and a significant decline in weight to 79 pounds, Jake faced her challenges with resilience.
In a poignant decision, Jake chose medical aid in dying (MAID), a legal option in California since 2016. Supported by her family and friends who had witnessed her prolonged suffering, Jake found dignity and peace in this difficult choice. For those grappling with thoughts of suicide, we urge you to reach out to the Suicide Lifeline, with the US number being 988.
Galaxy Diagnostics CEO Amanda Elam, reflecting on her relationship with Jake, expressed deep sorrow and loss for her bright and shinning advocate. With a blend of humor and grace, Jake not only educated and entertained, but offered hope to countless individuals navigating chronic illness, shedding light on the role a Bartonella infection might play in their symptoms.
Jake's remarkable journey extended beyond personal challenges. Alongside two mothers of patients, she co-founded the "Breaking Down Bartonella" Facebook patient forum and created an enlightening YouTube series, Bartonella Babe. Fueled by her skills as an actor and informed by her Masters in Gender, Policy, and Inequalities from the London School of Economics, Jake dedicated herself to disease advocacy. She approached every endeavor with thoughtfulness and craftsmanship.
As we mourn Jake's passing, our thoughts go to her mother, family, and friends. We will miss Jake's vibrant spirit and her leadership in the Bartonella community. Grateful for her contributions in raising awareness and educating the public on Bartonella and associated diseases, we commit to intensifying our efforts to advance clinical solutions for patients in Jake's memory.
Rest in Peace, dear Jake. Your legacy endures in the hearts and minds of many.