Summer is a very fun time of the year when one’s a child or teenager. Free of the confines of school, there is an abundance of available time to explore, go to movies, or hang out with friends. Some kids even like to visit their local pond or lake together so they can splash around and enjoy each other’s company.
But one such trip nearly ended in tragedy for a Florida teen.
Sebastian DeLeon was a normal 16-year-old who had been eagerly awaiting summer. Taking time to breathe and relax from the stresses of finals and papers, he started working as a camp counselor to make some money for himself. During this time he took a swim on a private property that would unfortunately lead to him facing a condition where survival is slim to none.
Unbeknownst to DeLeon, he had contracted a brain-eating amoeba parasite.
Going on with life completely unaware of the parasite working away at his brain, it took a few days before DeLeon came down with a severe headache that landed him in the hospital. Unable to identify what was ailing DeLeon, the doctors at the hospital at first thought he had a nasty case of meningitis. But after further testing the truth of what was going on was revealed.
The doctors sat down DeLeon’s parents to share the news.
Of the people who’ve been infected by this amoeba, only 3% survived. As a result, the doctors unfortunately had to tell DeLeon’s parents that it was very unlikely their son was going to get better.
“I had to tell them to say their goodbyes,” DeLeon’s doctor, Dr. Humberto Liriano explained to ABC News. “I had to tell them, tell [DeLeon] everything you want to say [to him].”
But DeLeon’s parents refused to give up hope. They begged the doctors to look for an alternative treatment that would give their son a fighting chance.
As it turns out, there was an experimental drug, Impavido, that might save DeLeon.
Getting in contact with the creators of the product, Todd and Michael McLaughlin, they offered to personally bring over a packet of the drug. Though it was still under investigation by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, everyone agreed to administer the drug to DeLeon, as without it he was going to die.
The doctors placed DeLeon into a medically induced coma and severely lowered his body temperature so that the condition wouldn’t worsen. They then proceeded to give him the drug.
And lo and behold it started to work.
After a few days DeLeon was taken out of his induced coma and a few hours later, he began talking again.
DeLeon’s life was saved and his condition cured.
“He’s walking, talking. It’s a miracle,” Liriano went on to say.
With his condition taking place in 2016, in the time since DeLeon has been able to return to his normal life. Going back to school shaken from the ordeal, he’s happy to simply still be alive. Owing it all to the drug that saved him, DeLeon’s parents can’t believe that at one point his death seemed all but certain.