Leland Shoemake died from a brain infection caused by an amoeba

By Alex Heigl
Updated September 30, 2015 11:45 AM
Credit: Prayers for Leland Community/Facebook

Leland Shoemake, who died Friday after a month-long battle with an amebic infection, left behind a touching note for his parents to find.

The Atlanta, Georgia, 6-year-old contracted Balamuthia mandrillaris, a rare type of infection caused by a free-living ameba, and had been given an experimental drug by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though his condition steadily deteriorated.

Returning home for the first time to get clothing for Leland’s burial, the young boy’s parents, Amber and Tim Shoemake, found a note their son had written for them on a table in their living room.

“Still with you,” it read. “Thank you mom and dad. Love.”

“We were in shock and broke down as soon as we saw it. He was amazing in life and still is after his passing. He touched everyone he met and we are amazed at how many lives he’s touched since he left us,” Amber told ABC News.

“When Tim and I came home for the first time to get him clothes to be buried in, this is the note we found from him on the table in the living room. We have no idea when he wrote it but you can tell he was always a special child. We will love you forever Leland,” Amber wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

She also shared a few emotional details about her beloved son.

“I was over-protective of Leland and tried my best to keep him safe,” she wrote. “The one thing he loved most was playing in the dirt. I never imagined that would be the thing that would take him from me. He was my world. He made me a mother.”

She continued, “He was perfect. His favorite movie was Jaws. His favorite director was Steven Spielberg. And his favorite actor was Adam Sandler. He loved his brother and his family so much. He was the life of every party. His smile could light up a city. He was the smartest, most caring, loving little boy there ever was. He was taken from us too soon…He was the light of our life and the center of this family. I count the days until I can see his sweet face again and hear that beautiful voice.”

The Shoemakes set up a GoFundMe page on Sept. 16 to help defray costs from Leland’s treatment.