TITUSVILLE, Florida -- The Courtney Nash Amoeba Awareness Foundation will hold a benefit and fundraiser on Saturday August 4th, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sand Point Pavilion Park located at 101 North Washington Avenue in Titusville, Florida.
The event will have food, drinks, games, 50/50 raffles, along with bumper stickers, license plates, shirts and bracelets for sale.
The fundraiser will be lead into a group prayer with Pastor John Wright from Cross Walk Community Church followed by a walk and petal drop from the top of Max Brewer Bridge today to remember the 16-year-old Mims teen who was killed by an amoeba contracted from swimming in the St. John's River last summer.
The funds collected at the event are to buy a billboard to spread the awareness of amoeba. Additionally, donations can be made at www.courtneynash.com
After Courtney's death, her mother, PJ White Nash-Ryder, asked if the media would remind parents that, coinciding with the start of hurricane season on June 1, also comes the greater threat of an amoeba infection while swimming in fresh water lakes, rivers, and ponds during the hot summer months here in Florida.
"I know people are not going to stay out of the waters on hot summer months but they should take extra precautions and use nose plugs," said Nash-Ryder. "This is an infection that does not discriminate. It could happen to anyone. It could happen to you."
Just last month, the City of Palm Bay announced that the lake at Veteran's Memorial Park located at 2200 Port Malabar Boulevard NE is permanently closed to swimming due to continued risk of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis to park patrons.
The amoeba thrives in the upper layer of sediment in the bottom of lakes and ponds with mud floors. The Brevard County Health Department advises symptoms of infection include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and bodily control, seizures and hallucinations. The public is urged to contact a medical professional immediately if experiencing any of these symptoms.
The Brevard County Health Department also reports the threat of infection, although rare, increases during the summer months when the water temperature rises. The amoeba invades the brain and the disease progresses rapidly and usually results in death within 3 to 7 days. Prevention is key and the public is advised to avoid warm water ponds, lakes, rivers and non chlorinated swimming pools.
For more information visit the Brevard County Health Department's website www.doh.state.fl.us/chdbrevard or contact the Brevard County Health Department at 321-454-7101 or the Palm Bay Parks and Recreation Department at 321-953-8912.