Artesia man dies weeks after contracting rare fungal infection

New Mexico

An 18-year-old Artesia man went from healthy and active to being on life support in a matter of weeks after contracting a rare fungal brain infection. Now, his family is left wondering how in the world he got it.

“I was like, I’m going to wake up, soon, I’m going to wake up, you know? And this is all going to be a dream. I didn’t think this could ever happen,” said Sarah Goff, Isaiah’s mother.

Goff and her husband Howard are doing something they never imagined they’d do: mourn their son Isaiah’s death.

“His laugh…I loved his laugh, just the way he laughed.”

Goff said Isaiah had been having bad headaches for about week when things took a turn for the worst in early June. 

At a doctor’s appointment for his grandmother, he became nauseated, fell a couple times, and became unable to walk — his left side paralyzed.

It was after he was carried to his car, he tried to leave. After he crashed into the median, they knew something was really wrong. Isaiah was immediately taken to the hospital.

“When we got there, they took CT scans and sure enough, the doctor came out and said that there was a massive in his brain.”

Isaiah was then flown to Lubbock, where he went in for emergency brain surgery.

“They took out the frontal lobe, right side of his brain out. He ended up having two strokes.”

Just days shy of his 19th birthday, the Goffs made the tough decision to take him off life support. He passed away Wednesday afternoon.

Lab tests determined it was a type of fungal infection called bipolaris, an extremely rare disease. The fungi grows in plant debris or soil.

“We actually don’t know how he got it, it’s from wet soil. Could be from mowing a wet lawn or when you clean out your swimming pool.”

Now, the Goffs have a message for all parents.

“Cherish your kids. Cherish life, ‘cause tomorrow’s never promised.”

The Goffs are trying to raise money for a funeral and pay medical bills.

They say the disease specialist is still trying to determine how Isaiah contracted the disease That entails complex testing of the fungi removed from his brain.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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