Angels of Amoeba Awareness
The Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation
has been established with the goal of informing families of the potential danger of Naelgeria Fowleri which exists in fresh waterways around the world.
Through education and awareness, our hope is to save lives and heartache for other families.
Our Stories with others.
and So Do I
Philip Thomas Gompf ~ Aug. 5, 1999 - Aug. 17, 2009 ~ Florida
Philip was passionate about understanding the way things work. He loved to work with his hands, building things & taking apart Dad's old circuit boards. He loved to read and write; he had a wonderful writing voice and ironic humor that made his Mommy grin. He was a fan of the Beatles and Monty Python. He had big emotions and a kind heart and wanted to make things right in the world.
Philip died in two days, a week after a wonderful weekend of wake-boarding with his cousins on Lake Arietta. His doctors diagnosed meningitis but couldn't determine what kind, and it had progressed with shocking speed. The medical examiner declined to autopsy, so we requested one. The diagnosis of Naegleria Fowleri meningitis arrived a month later, and our hearts broke again. We donated Philip's organs to LikeLink where we learned that his kidneys saved two ladies; he would have been so very pleased. We miss you so, little bear.
Hailee Marie LaMeyer ~ Sept. 23, 1996 - Aug. 23, 2008 ~ Minnesota
Hailee was about as close to perfect as we could imagine a person to be. Hailee wanted everyone to be happy and to have fun, never was a big fan of turmoil or conflict. The simplest things made her the most happy. We think the mere fact that she was alive and had a life intrigued her. Hailee was caring, loving and compassionate and always looked forward to our week at the cabin during the 4th of July because she knew there would be campfires, fishing, and most importantly... swimming - no matter temperature or time of day. Hailee truly enjoyed every day because of the fact that it was a new day.
The amoeba infection took Hailee's life within 2 days of becoming ill, just 5 days after swimming in the lake right next to our home. If we had only known this deadly amoeba existed, she would have never been swimming that terribly hot Minnesota day. We went 2 years without knowing what caused her death and now our goal is to educate others and support research for those lost and those that may not have to be lost to this unforgiving amoeba.
Christian Strickland ~ May 3, 2002 - Aug. 5, 2011 ~ Virginia
Christian was a very adventurous and full of energy 9 year old boy. He loved living on a farm with many animals & a pond to fish in. He played basketball, baseball, karate and had a passion for fishing.
Christian was at a fishing camp for a 2nd year when he came in contact with the amoeba that took his life. He and two boys were roughhousing and dunking each other. Two weeks went by before he showed symptoms. We decided to donate his organs but then took one more hard blow to us & his donors when the hospital decided not to use his organs because his unknown disease status (meningitis & encephalitis). It was confirmed to us by the health dept the following weekend that it was Naegleria Fowleri.
The amoeba Naegleria Fowleri is not rare and KyleCares strongly believes the infection it causes is not as rare as assumed. We believe many cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed every year given the lack of information known about the amoeba, the speed that the infection takes a life, and the amoeba not being looked for in spinal fluid or autopsy.
All of these beautiful children, and many more, had many things in common, but the first being they all swam in warm fresh water days before they experienced the symptoms and horrible effects this amoeba causes.
We appreciate all the families of these angels for sharing their stories with us for awareness.
Will Mathews ~ May 27, 1996 - Aug. 15, 2010 ~ Louisiana
Although small in stature, Will had a heart and zeal for life much larger than any other we know. He was the best brother to 3 younger brothers. Will loved the Lord and life along with everything it had to offer. Will had a contagious smile and loved doing things with his family and friends. There was nothing in Will's 14 years of life here on earth that he wouldn't attempt to do. He loved a challenge. Just a few of Will's favorite things were playing baseball, watching the Texas Rangers, playing soccer and football, he enjoyed riding his dirtbike and loved to snowboard in the winter and wakeboard in the summer.
Will began having symptoms just 1 week after wakeboarding in Louisianna. Doctors diagnosed him with encephalitis. He was placed on life support just 5 days later.
Not a day goes by that we don't miss our son greatly, but just have to put our complete trust in God and rest in the fact that we will all be together again.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength Philippians 4:13
If you have an angel who should be a part of
Angels of Awareness,
We work together to help spread the awareness and pictures and personal stories are always provided by the family and shared here only with their permission.
Elizabeth Simms Hollingsworth ~ May 11, 2000 – July 6, 2010 ~ South Carolina
Liza was a funny, silly, and active little girl who loved to draw, play guitar, and ride her skateboard. She loved animals of every kind, and she and her best friend spent many hours helping our neighbors walk their dogs. Most of all, Liza loved to be in the water, and she excelled at wake-boarding and boogie-boarding.
Liza came into contact with the deadly amoeba while swimming with her friends in a local fresh water pond at a birthday party. A week later she started feeling bad, and within three days she died in the hospital surrounded by her family. We learned that she died from exposure to Naegleria Fowleri while we were still at the hospital, and not one day goes by that we do not wish we had known about this terrible disease so that we could have kept her from swimming in that pond.
John 'Jack' Herrera ~ Feb. 16, 1995 - August 15, 2007 ~ Texas
Handsome Jack's family say he taught those around him the meaning of kindness and grace. He woke with a smile and went to be with a smile. Jack embraced life with humor and an indomitable spirit, enjoying lacrosse, basketball and above all else, his family.
In the summer of 2007 Jack attended a summer camp on Lake LBJ in Austin, TX. He enjoyed swimming in the lake along with all the other campers; however Jack became very ill while at camp. While in the hospital, he had many people by his side fighting for him and fighting against this amoeba.
Since then, Jack's parents were instrumental in getting the summer camp to start handing out nose clips to the campers and had some warning signs put up on LBJ.
William Steven Sellars ~ June 6, 1996 - August 8, 2007
Will was a very active 11 year old boy. Will loved his family, friends, sports, and he loved his pets.
Will came in contact with the Naegleria amoeba while wake-boarding on July 28th. Ten days later, Will, fighting so hard to live, lost his battle with the amoeba.
We miss him every day.
Marissa Claire Cook-Norris ~ Oct. 1, 1999 - August 7, 2007 ~ South Carolina
Marissa was such an energetic loving child. Rissy had the best laugh in the whole world!!! When she laughed everyone heard it and you couldn't do anything except laugh yourself. She always put a smile on peoples faces. She was a child that had the biggest heart I have ever seen in someone so young.
About a week before Marissa had gotten sick we went on a family outing in Santee Cooper,SC. We had a great time eating, swimming and spending the day together with all our family. Little did we know that would be our last family outing together. Marissa was sick and they didn't know why!!! We are all sure that it was this amoeba that caused our Rissy to have to leave us so soon. If we had only known about this horrible thing we're sure there would have been a different outcome.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation
Dalton Counts ~ Jan. 8, 2003 - July 31, 2012 ~ Oklahoma
Dalton was a very smart intelligent young man. He was an A/B honor roll student all through school. He had a very contagious smile and was very compassionate to many people he would do anything to help or to make someone who was down feel better. If you every came into contact with him you would never forget him. This may be why there was over 220 people at his memorial services.
Dalton contracted the amoeba while swimming at Carpenter's Bluff in Denison, TX. on July 22, 2012. He did not show signs of sickness until the 25th. Dalton fought long and hard, on the 30th they did a more invasive treatment and all went well, we had hope again. However, on the 31st the doctors told us they had done everything medically possible.
Dalton fought hard for 5 days and I knew he was tired and it was time for him to go be with God.
Blake Driggers ~ Jan. 14, 2004 - July 17, 2012 ~ South Carolina
God blessed us with Blake on January 14, 2004. Blake was a very happy child with a outgoing personality. He loved everyone he was around and made sure he showed them. He was known for his big hugs and his big smile.Blake was always drawing pictures and creating things from whatever he found lying around. He also loved to watch movies and afterwards, he’d dress up just like a character in the movie. He enjoyed jumping on the trampoline, playing four-square with his friends, dancing and playing with his dog, Dunkin. He loved being around his family and making us all laugh. Blake most importantly loved the Lord. He shared God’s word with everyone. His favorite verse was John 3:16. Blake contracted the amoeba while on a family vacation at the lake on July 7th. Blake became sick with virus like symptoms on Saturday night, July 14th, and was taken to the ER early Sunday morning, July 15th. He was transported by ambulance Sunday afternoon to a critical care unit at a Children’s Hospital and on Tuesday afternoon, July 17th, he passed away.
Waylon Abel ~ August 12, 1981 - August 7, 2012 ~ Indiana
Waylon was a amazing father of three and a good man. He loved to take his kids fishing, swimming, and hunting . He loved to be outdoors enjoying life. He was employed as a diesel mechanic but his true passion was doing construction work. On a hot day in August he took his children and fiance to the beach in Loogootee, Indiana and days later he had a headache, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Waylon went to the hospital and received antibiotics and went home. He returned to hospital 12 hours later, his condition worsened, and he was placed on a ventilator and airlifted Aug. 7 to St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville, Indiana where he died hours later, five days before his 31st birthday. A few weeks later the autopsy report came back and confirmed primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
A father, a son, a brother, a fiance, and a friend.
Waylon is the first known, 'documented' case from naegleria fowleri in Indiana.
Annie Bahneman ~ July 18, 2003 - August 21, 2010 ~ Minnesota
We will share Annie's story soon.
We will share a few more stories soon...but we also all hope that by sharing our families personal stories and spreading the awareness, we will not be adding more 'new' stories of loss to this page!