Caleb is 13 years old; he is smart, strong, athletic, kind, compassionate, brave, and loved.
On July 1, Caleb and his family visited a local "beach" (brackish water) in Port Charlotte. 5 days later, he started to complain about a headache. The next day, the fever began. By Saturday, he was disoriented and his parents drove him to Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida in Ft. Myers - he was immediately diagnosed with meningitis and placed in PICU. Unfortunately, it appears that the amoeba Naegleria fowleri may be responsible for his illness. Two samples sent to the CDC came back as "inconclusive". However, the medical team is treating him as a presumed case based on history, presentation, and clinical findings (lab tests, MRI, etc).
He started to receive the CDC protocol to treat the amoeba on July 10. He required a brief period of sedation and intubation but has been breathing on his own for almost a full week now! His MRI scan from 7/20 continues to show damage in his brain but we remain hopeful that he'll turn the corner soon and make his way back to us!
So many friends and family from all over have reached out to ask how they can help. The Ziegelbauer and Chiet families are both large and super family oriented and Caleb's brother and sisters are safe and well-loved while Jesse and Eric remain at Caleb's bedside. We're hoping to be able to take some burden off of them so they can continue to fight on the outside so Caleb can fight on the inside!
Katie Chiet and Beth Ziegelbauer
PS. Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) is preventable - wear nose plugs anytime you are swimming in water that isn't properly chlorinated ❤️
Jesse and Eric Ziegelbauer are the beneficiaries of this fundraiser - as their sisters, we've set up this GoFundMe to directly send everything raised to their account in order to cover expenses occurred during this ordeal.