LaBelle boy dies after battling brain eating parasite
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Aug. 24, 2013 - UPDATED: Aug. 24, 2013
MIAMI -- The LaBelle 12-year-old fighting a brain eating parasite has died from his illness.
A posting on a Facebook page from Zac Reyna's father indicated Zac died Saturday at a Miami children's hospital after battling the illness he contracted while playing in a ditch near his LaBelle home earlier this month.
The posting reads: "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 c...hanging 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."
Tests earlier this week at the Miami hospital where Zac was being treated indicated medicine was able to eliminate the parasite in Zac's brain, but doctor's feared the damage from the brain eating amoeba had already taken a severe toll on him.
More than 99-percent of people who contract the illness die after showing symptoms. The brain eating parasite can be found in southern state freshwater and gets into the system through a person's nose.
News of Zac's death is a blow to the community of LaBelle which had rallied around the family in recent weeks, holding fundraisers and wearing T-shirts in his honor. Most recently, a moment of silence was held Friday night in Immokalee as the LaBelle High School football team battled Immokalee in their first football game of the season.
Stay tuned for more on this story coming up on Fox 4 News.