MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The family of a 12-year-old boy who was exposed to a dangerous amoeba which resulted in a rare and deadly infection that attacked his brain released sad news Saturday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon, family members told CBS4, Zac has “passed”, but said doctors will now harvest his organs. According to the family, in order for Zac’s organs to help others, his body will be kept on a ventilator until that process can take place.
The news that Zachary Reyna would not survive was announced with a Facebook post on the Pray4Number4 – Zachary Reyna page by his father, Saturday:
“At 1:54 today there was a crack of a bat heard. Zac took it deep. My boy hit his homerun. One that I’ll never forget. I’m so proud of him. He left it all on the field and I can’t ask for more. He did so well that he’ll be the starting 2nd baseman for The Lords team. I sit back and ask myself, what would make me prouder; my son playing pro ball, being a successful business man or being known for changing and saving thousands of lives for The Lord. It’s a no brainer. I love The Lord for giving me such a beautiful son who He chose to change myself, my family and the world for better. Thank you Jesus. It hurts, but you have given my family love and peace. We couldn’t be so strong today without you. I hope that Zac continues to touch people and his time here is remembered forever. We thank everyone for being so caring and I know it’s going to be tough on us at first, but we have an awesome support team back home and we are grateful for that. The battle is over for Zac but he won the war.”
Reyna was infected with Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled living amoeba that is commonly found in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers. It can cause a rare brain infection called ‘primary amebic meningoencephalitis’ (PAM) that destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal. He was being treated at Miami Children’s Hospital.
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.
Family members said Zac was infected while knee boarding with friends in a ditch near his family’s LaBelle home on August 3rd.
Experts say the amoeba gets up the nose and travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which destroys brain tissue. It’s a medical mystery why some people who swim in amoeba-containing water get the fatal nervous system condition while many others don’t.
People across the country rallied behind Zac including celebrities Taylor Swift, the New York Yankees, and the Saint Louis Cardinals who sent him gifts and words of encouragement.