SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — The parents of an Upstate first-grader who died last week from meningitis said the boy always wanted to help save others.
Now, he is helping children all over the country.
“He said that one day when he got older, he wanted to be a superhero and save lives,” Hollie Gossett said of her 6-year-old son, Wesley, who died on Sunday from bacterial meningitis.
“Meningitis is an infection, and or an inflammation of the meninges, which is the cover of your brain and spinal cord,” Dr. Christian Montagano said.
Gossett said Wesley saw his grandpa get a heart transplant and always wanted to help others. So, his organs were donated.
“He is now saving the lives of seven children,” Gossett said. “Part of our little boy gets to live on.”
Gossett said Wesley started to not feel well early last week. She said it all started with a headache.
“He started vomiting, then he started running a high fever,” she said. “He started having jerking movements, turning into seizures.”
They rushed him to the hospital, and on Friday, Gossett said they were told Wesley was brain dead. Shortly afterward, he was gone.
“It will take time, and by the grace of God we will start feeling better every day,” she said. “But he’s never not going to be a part of our lives. We’re going to talk about him, we’re going to laugh about him, we’re going to cry about him.”
Montagano said some symptoms of the infection are headaches, sensitivity to light, nausea, fever, stiff neck, and back pain. He said the flu and meningitis symptoms can overlap.
“The key is getting in with your physician early and getting that rapid flu test to kind of tease that out,” Montagano said. “Or, if need be, get that spinal tap if the child looks really sick and get them to the hospital and let us figure it out.”
There are things parents can do to help.
“From a preventative standpoint, it’s really vaccinations, good handwashing, when your child is sick, keeping them at home, keeping them away from other children,” he said.
Gossett said Wesley was vaccinated.
“So, whatever it was, was something they didn’t have a vaccine for,” she said.
She describes her son as a sports-loving, sweet, encouraging, and loving, little guy.
“He was 6, he was my baby,” she said. “I mean, that was mama’s boy, the light of my entire life, all of our world, and it’s been rough. But I feel a little better knowing that we were able to do something by it.”
Wesley’s family said their little hero will live on in the world he was taken from too soon.
A visitation service for Wesley will be held on Sunday at Harris-Nadeau Mortuary. A funeral is planned for noon on Monday at the Riding For Jesus Cowboy Church in Pacolet. Those who attend are asked to wear blue and gold, black and gold, or anything superhero in his honor.
Several fundraisers have also been scheduled: They include one on Saturday at Broome High School, an Oct. 28 fishing tournament at Bo’s Carp Lake in Shelby, North Carolina, and a trunk-or-treat at 5 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Riding for Jesus Cowboy Church.