Posted: Aug 27, 2013 7:52 AM
MIAMI - The family of a 12-year-old southwest Florida boy who was infected by a rare and deadly brain eating amoeba says his organs are being donated.
In a Facebook posting late Monday, the family announced that Zachary Reyna's organs were going to others who were "waiting on a miracle." Calls to Miami Children's Hospital were not returned early Tuesday.
"Zac is our miracle," the family's Facebook posting said. "His spirit will always be among us. He changed all of our lives, brought us closer to God, strengthened our family and his story has touched people around the world."
Reyna became infected Aug. 3 while knee boarding with friends in a ditch near his family's LaBelle home. Doctors in Miami told the family late last week that the boy had extensive brain damage.
The family also noted on the Facebook page created to provide updates on the child's condition that funeral arrangements had not yet been made.
The boy's uncle, Homer Villarreal, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the family was still reeling from the loss of a boy with boundless energy. He said the boy had challenged him to a basketball game two days before he was admitted to the hospital.
"It's hard for me to believe that Zachary can be laying in bed when this kid would never run out of energy," Villarreal said. "It's hard for all of us to believe this is happening to him."
The brain infection is called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). It destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal.
Infections from the amoeba are rare. Florida officials cited federal statistics showing that 28 infections were reported in the U.S. from 2003 to 2012, mostly from exposure to contaminated recreational water. A person cannot be infected with the amoeba by drinking contaminated water, state officials said, and the amoeba is not found in salt water.
Victims typically are exposed to the bug while swimming or doing water sports in warm ponds, lakes, rivers and canals during the hot summer months, mostly in the South.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
Send us your feedback. We want to hear from you!
Look at photos and videos and share them!
|KRISTV.COM Mobile Website
Get KRISTV.com on your mobile or PDA!
|KRISTV.COM Mobile Apps
Get our mobile apps on your mobile or PDA!
See the latest winning numbers!
|6 News Team
Read about your favorite KRIS-TV personalities!
|FCC Online Public File
FCC Public File of Records, Reports, and more