Brain-eating amoeba: Community comes together to support Zachary Reyna, boy battling infection

3:44 PM, Aug 14, 2013   |    comments
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Zachary Reyna



LABELLE, Florida (WINK) -- The LaBelle community is banding together to show its support for a 12-year-old boy in critical condition, fighting a rare and deadly infection attacking his brain.

Friends say Zachary Reyna was infected with a brain-eating amoeba while playing in a ditch near his home. Only three people have ever survived this infection.

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Those close to the family say Reyna's parents are still hoping for a positive change in their son. They are still by his side as he fights for his life at a Miami hospital. 

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On Wednesday morning, Southwest Floridians gathered at a park in the middle of LaBelle to pray, but they aren't the only ones rallying. Family friends of Zachary Reyna knew the close-knit town of LaBelle would turn out in support of the 12-year-old, but his story is now spanning other states and even countries.

Hundreds supported Zachary at the prayer vigil in the center of town, but organizers say churches in Jacksonville and Ontario were praying simultaneously. The family even participated from a Miami hospital through Facetime.

Those who attended say the hardest part is watching Zachary's family and teammates struggle through the uncertainty.

A fund has been set up for the family at First Bank, under Zachary's father's name: "Jesse Reyna Family." 

There are locations in LaBelle, Clewiston and Riverdale. The T-shirts are also on sale at a shop in LaBelle called Ragin' Graphics. So far, at least $3,000 has been raised.

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