Immokalee High holds fundraiser for boy fighting brain-eating infection
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
IMMOKALEE, Fla. - The southwest Florida community came together for a fundraiser to support a 12-year-old LaBelle boy battling a brain-eating parasite.
Twelve-year-old Zachary Reyna contracted the amoeba while knee-boarding with friends near his home. This is week three at Miami Chilren's Hospital.
People from LaBelle and as far north as Port Charlotte came to support Zac at Immokalee High School. Tee shirts kept him close to their hearts.
"That's why I'm here for little Zachary," said Donna Lambert, of LaBelle.
Lambert says she prays everyday that Zac recovers from the the infection that attacked his little body.
"Make him come alive again!" added Lambert.
More than 3,000 packed the football field for the game, while many placed checks and cash in donation drop boxes for Zac and his family. School administrators said this will be one of many fundraisers for him.
"This is something that's way bigger than football," said Tony Allen, the athletic director of Immokalee High School, who organized the fundraiser. "This young man, he's an athlete. So, hopefully he's able to get back to what he loves, which is playing baseball."
Zac proudly wore number seven for his little league team and if he survives the sickness, he'll be the fourth person to ever do so. It's why the LaBelle Cowboys donned shirts displaying the number four under their jerseys.
"Our team is playing for him and we're hoping we can win for him," said Ali Anderson, a ninth-grader at LaBelle High School, who say she's a manager of the football team.
The shirts are a good luck charm as they battled the Immokalee Indians in the pre-season game on their home turf.
On Wednesday, Zac's family shared good news. A Facebook post said the antibiotics are working and the infection has stopped spreading.
"Everybody in LaBelle prays for him everyday, all day," said Joan Bloomster, of LaBelle.
While the road to healing may be long, every prayer and every dime will help the family that is struggling tonight.
"I've been praying praying hard for him," concluded Lambert. "Bless his little heart."
The athletic director says more tests will be performed on Zac's brain tomorrow. And despite the uncertainty, that his family is holding strong and in good spirits.