Mom of Houston-area 4-year-old who died from brain amoeba speaks out

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Friday, August 28, 2015
Mom of Houston-area boy who died from brain amoeba speaks out
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While one Houston-area family is praying their teen will survive a brain-eating parasite, another is nursing a broken heart after losing a child to the same amoeba.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Four-year old David Charar died earlier this month after swimming in a river near Livingston and Huntsville. His mom, Elizabeth Teresa, talked about the pain of losing her lively, intelligent boy.

Doctors at Texas Children's Hospital made the diagnosis.

"That was where I was told that my child had an amoeba in the brain and there was no possibility of being able to save my son," Teresa said.

On Monday, we reported that 14-year-old Michael Riley Jr. is still fighting for his life at Texas Children's Hospital, infected by the same brain-eating amoeba following a swim at the Hunstville State Park lake. His family says he also got it from swimming in the Huntsville area. Remember, there are just five cases of the illness in the U.S. this year, so it's extraordinary that two would be contracted within miles of each other.

"He has left me something in my heart knowing that he enjoyed life to the fullest," Teresa said.

While David's family has coped privately with the pain of battling this illness, which can claim its victims in just days, Riley's family and friends are reaching out to the community for support.

On Wednesday night at Cypress Ridge High, Riley's track team held a rally on his behalf.

Both boys were to start school this week. Instead, one family is praying for a miracle, while another is nursing a broken heart.

"These are things that one does not expect in a life," said Teresa. "Well I for one did not expect this in life, but the truth is, some things happen and there is no hope."

High temperatures make our local water breed the parasite that causes the brain eating condition. The parasite is only found in fresh water. Symptoms of this illness include fever, vomiting, disorientation and headaches.