The sudden death of an 11-year-old boy in Winter Park, Florida, is raising awareness about a terrifying flesh-eating infection that can, apparently, happen to anyone – even those that live a healthy and active lifestyle. His grieving family recently opened up about their horrific experience with the infection.
It was just another normal day for Jesse Brown, an 11-year-old who was an aspiring BMX racer and muay thai enthusiast. He was on the treadmill when he suddenly twisted his ankle – an injury that is far too common for any active child. So, he did what any other child would do – he began to nurse the ankle.
Just a few days into his recovery, his parents – Betsy and Brad Brown – noticed his ‘whole leg was covered in like splotchy, purply, red, almost like bruises.’ They decided to take him to a local intensive care unit, where he began treatment for a Group A strep infection of the Group A Streptococcus bacteria.
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It didn’t take long for the infection to turn deadly. Doctors realized the infection had worsened into necrotizing fasciitis – which is described as a flesh-eating disease that spreads quickly after entering the body through a break in the skin. As a result of the disease, Jesse’s brain started to swell uncontrollably.
“They said that because he rolled his ankle, that that’s likely where the infection attacked it. Because it was already weak,” said Jesse’s cousin, Megan Brown. “For this to kill him in just a matter of days was crazy,” she continued – adding they could’ve caught the disease earlier if they were more aware of it.
The story became much more tragic when his parents described the type of kid Jesse was – an active, goofy, happy, and healthy child who was ‘destined for great things.’ They also called him a ‘miracle child’ after being told they wouldn’t be able to have children. It took them 10 years to finally conceive Jesse.
“[They] gave everything to this boy. Their entire lives revolved around him. He was spoiled rotten, but who wouldn’t do that for their miracle baby,” explained Megan. She said everyone who met Jesse loved him, adding he knew how to light up a room with his laugh. “That miracle was taken from us far too soon.”
Tributes Pour in After Flesh-Eating Infection Kills Jesse
In the days after news of his death spread across the country, tributes continue to pour in for Jesse Brown after going from being a healthy boy, to having a twisted ankle, to having a flesh-eating disease that led to his death. He’s remembered as a kind and compassionate young boy who looked out for others.
A GoFundMe account has been created by Megan Brown, which is set to benefit his mother, Betsy Brown. “Funds will be used for Jesse’s memorial services and hospital bills,” says Megan, who has been overwhelmed by the more than $30,000 the account has raised since being created in late January.
“Jesse has gone viral. Friends who are seeing this from all around the world, thank you for your kind words. Jesse was so special, and we just want to spread the word, so this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child,” she wrote in a recent update on February 17. The account has seen 269 donations as of that date.
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People who want to support Jesse Brown can also donate money to the Jesse Brown Memorial Fund, which has been set up by the Orange County Public Schools foundation. All funds will be ‘distributed directly to the family’ as they hope to ‘help support this family as they work through their grief.”
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