Family Hopes Parasite Awareness Campaign Will Save Lives

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Saturday, May 14, 2011  |  Updated 12:23 AM CDT
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The family of 7-year old boy killed by a parasite last year is raising awareness about the amoeba.

Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

The family of 7-year old boy killed by a parasite last year is raising awareness about the amoeba.

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Teammates Honor Kyle Lewis

7-year-old Kyle Lewis passed away just days after an amoeba from a river entered his nose. His young teammates remembered him in a special way Wednesday.

Boy Dies of Rare Disease From Amoeba

The Centers for Disease Control says there have only been 128 cases of Naegleria in the United States since 1937.
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The family of 7-year old boy killed by a parasite last year is raising awareness about the amoeba.

Kyle Lewis became infected last summer by the waterborne Naegleria fowleri while swimming with his family in the Paluxy River. Several days after the trip, he complained of a headache, said his father, Jeremy Lewis.

"He got sick Thursday morning, we took him to Cook's, it progressively got worse and worse and Sunday, he was gone," Lewis said.

Kyle's parents have spent the past nine months learning everything they can about Naegleria fowleri.

"If I have one more doctor tell me it's rare, I'm going to go crazy, because it's not," Lewis said.

The parasite breeds in warm, still waters and enters the body through the nose before it attaches onto the brain. It's been linked to 30 deaths in the past 10 years.

"If you do go to the lake, we're telling you -- you should probably have nose plugs. Keep your kids' heads above water. You can still have fun [but] be very vigilant and careful," Lewis said.

The Lewises founded the Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation to encourage prevention and work toward a cure.

"One life can save millions, and we are going to make sure of it," Lewis said.

He said Kyle was almost always smiling, whether he was on the baseball field or out on a boat.

"I miss him so much," Lewis said. "We miss him so much. He was an amazing little boy."

To learn more about the foundation, visit: Kylecares.com.


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