ARLINGTON - Family and friends are saying goodbye to a seven-year-old who died of a rare illness over the weekend.

The memorial service for Kyle Lewis is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Rush Creek Baptist Church in Arlington.

The boy attended Ashworth Elementary, where students and teachers are struggling to make it through the day.

They have lost a little boy, they say was an outstanding student.

He is only seven years old. I am sorry for the parents, said one mother, Maria Mendoza.

Doctors said Kyle Lewis was the victim of a rare infection of the brain.

Kyle, his big sister, cousins and family members had been swimming in the Paluxy River in Glen Rose -- part of a week-long camping trip before the start of school.

Three days later, Kyle died from an infection caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.

Naegleria breeds in warm, stagnant water. It enters through the nose and makes its way to the spinal cord.

Initial symptoms include severe headaches, vomiting and high fever, followed by confusion, lack of balance and seizures.

Infections are almost always fatal.

Kyle's father, Jeremy Lewis, said he had been unaware of the risk.

My son was heaven on earth; my son meant everything to my family and I, to my parents, his parents, Lewis said. He was an angel before he was an angel. He was perfect.

It has been too much for Kyle's best friend, Joshua, as his cousin explained.

He had his head down and he just wanted to cry. He told me his friend is not going to be coming back. It was so hard on him, she said.

Kyle's parents and his sister, a fifth grader, have been visiting with grief counselors.

Ashworth Elementary has decided to plant a tree in memory of Kyle.


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