A young boy Leland Shoemake was suffering from a brain-eating amoeba known as Balamuthia Mandrillaris. Unfortunately, his war with the disease was lost and he passed away when he was only 6 years old.
He did not have time to flourish, but he was the highlight of his parents', Amber and Tim's, life.
When his parents had to prepare for his funeral, they found a little note written by Leland and left on the table in the living room.
They did not know when exactly that note was written, but when they read it, they burst into tears. It went:
Still with you. Thank you Mom and Dad.
It is hard to translate their loss into words. Amber wrote that he was a bright little fellow, who was smart and curious about the world. He loved Steven Spielberg, Adam Sandler, documentaries about history and ships. He loved learning and was "the little nerd" they loved.
Leland was full of love, he cared for his little brother and cherished his family.
The boy got his infection by playing in the dirt. He loved that, but his mother could never know that those games were going to kill him.
Doctors fought for his life, but the disease was stronger.
That’s really sad when small children full of passion for life have to leave this world so soon.
The Shoemake family set up the Leland Shoemake foundation in order to help sick children in the community. Their mission is to spread awareness about brain-eating amoeba and save lives.
They do it to honor their son, and the memory of him lives with every action they take towards helping another child in need.