Boy Battling Brain-Eating Disease Similar to Benton 12-Year-Old

LABELLE, FL - A young boy in Florida is battling a brain-eating illness very similar to the disease being fought by Benton 12-year-old Kali Hardig.

If 12-year-old Zachary Reyna survives primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, he'd be the fourth person including Kali to survive the condition.  Kali is battling parasitic meningitis.

His family says Zachary spent August 3 knee-boarding in a ditch by his house.  After sleeping the rest of the day and evening, the seventh-grader's family started to think something wasn't quite right.  

"It just happened very quickly," recalled Zachary's brother Brandon Villarreal.

Brandon says one second Zac was playing, the next he was undergoing brain surgery, diagnosed with this potentially fatal illness.

"I wish I could just touch him and it would transfer over or something. It don't work like that," said Brandon.

The illness is caused by an amoeba found in still, warm water. It traveled up Zac's nose and into his brain.

"He's fighting, and he's strong. He's really, really strong," said Brandon.

The family is staying positive, telling their young baseball player to not give up in this close game.

"I told him its the ninth inning, ninth inning two outs, runner on third, he's up to bat," recalled Brandon. "It's his turn to hit it out. Bring the runs home so we can go home. It's time to win. He's going to be okay. "

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