A simple swim in the Brazos River has dramatically changed the young life of Lily Mae Avant, a 10-year-old Valley Mills Elementary School student.

After swimming in the Brazos River during the labor day weekend, Lily Avant contracted a rare and deadly brain-eating amoeba.

Reports state that Lily's health quickly declined and she experienced symptoms of infection such as a fever and headache. Lily was originally seen by her family doctor, but was soon transferred to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. It was at Cook's that doctors discovered the cause of Lily's illness, primary amebic meningoencephalitis.

According to the CDC, primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), is usually found in warm freshwater and soil. The amoeba enters the nose and then travels up to the brain where it then causes PAM. Unfortunately the fatality rate for those infected with PAM is extremly high at 97%. Only 4 people have survived from 1962-2018. Most people infected with PAM usually pass within 5 days of initial symptoms. As of today, Lily is on day 6.

If Lily survives she will be the 5th person to make it through this deadly disease. For updates on Lily you can visit the Facebook page, #LilyStrong. The family is requesting that the public pray for the following things:

  • Swelling to cease
  • Pupil Activity
  • The Doctors- That they hear and listen to God
  • Strength- For Lily's little body, mom, dad and family
  • Peace- I have felt your prayers and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Pray others feel it as well.
  • Awareness- We it to continue to spread as quickly as this Amoeba. We’re going to attack it as quickly as it’s been attacking Lily’s little brain.
  • Signs- We know God is working, but the signs renew us.

The CDC recommends the following actions for preventing infection.

  • Hold your nose shut, use nose clips, or keep your head above water when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater.
  • Avoid putting your head under the water in hot springs and other untreated thermal waters.
  • Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature.
  • Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.