Playing in Dirt Snuffs Out a Precious Life

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Amber Shoemake was blessed with a healthy son after years of waiting. So she was overprotective to her son Leland.  He was smart from day one— knew his ABC’s, numbers, colors, shapes by the time he was 1-year-old and he was considered precocious by all.  When he was 6, he contracted Balamuthia mandrillaris, a rare amoeba in the dirt that causes a cerebral and spinal cord infection.  

Last month, he started complaining about headaches and was treated for allergies.  When his condition worsened  a CT scan showed swelling behind his nasal cavity, which was attributed to a sinus infection.  After numerous CT scans and a spinal tap that showed inflammation, he was checked for a parasite, specifically an amoeba.  Two days after he started treatment for the parasite, he became unresponsive and brain dead.  After repeated brain death test he was taken off the ventilator.

When the parents came home to pick out his burial clothes, they found a note from Leland: “Still with you; thank you mom and dad; love mom and dad; it’s a good day.”  The extraordinary note from the brilliant boy gave them the comfort to wait for him.  Until then, she silently tells Leland: “Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite!”

Source: CBS News

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