Andy Moore first lost his legs and then his hands to the meningitis. And on Sunday, the 15-year-old Idaho boy lost his life to the disease.
A local pastor told of the family’s last minutes with their son.
“They talked with Andy and they told him they knew he was tired and they knew he was hurt and if he just wanted to go to sleep and quit fighting then that was OK with them, that he had their blessing, that they loved him and he could go,” said Rev. Don Blain, of the Weippe Wesleyan Church.
Andy died about five minutes later at 3:15 a.m. on Sunday.
Blain, who has acted as spokesman for the beleaguered family, left the message in a recording for the Weippe, Idaho, community where Andy lived.
“I think there has been a lot of disbelief,” said Bill Knapp, coach of the high school football team Moore played for. “A 15-year-old kid that’s healthy and strong - one day he’s here and the next he’s not. It’s a shock to the system.”
Andy and his twin sister Amanda attended Timberline High School as sophomores. On Feb. 23 Andy was stricken with the rare disease, bacterial meningitis.
He had been hospitalized ever since.
The disease forced doctors at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane to amputate both his legs below the knees. Doctors in Seattle then had to amputate his hands. Most recently he had been going through several skin-grafting surgeries.
In March, the boy seemed to be improving. But about two weeks ago he took a serious turn for the worse, said Blain.
Moore hadn’t come out of recent surgeries as strongly as hoped.
“His body was failing through the night and he just was tired enough and hurting enough and his body was weak enough,” Blain said in his recorded message. “He just wasn’t coming out of the last surgeries like they hoped.”
Andy Moore’s parents, Terry and Carolyn Moore, were with their son when he died early Sunday.
His death hit a 19-year-old University of Idaho sophomore particularly hard.
Erin L. Nielson of Nampa was stricken with bacterial meningitis two days after Moore. She, too, lost her legs and parts of a finger and hand.
Although she had never met Moore, she did meet his parents and sister and the two families had stayed in contact with each other. She found Sunday that Moore had died
“It upset Erin very much,” Taylor Nielson, her father, said Tuesday. “She feels really badly for them that they had to go through all of this.”
Erin Nielson is continuing to recover in a Salt Lake City hospital.
She is expected to get her final skin graft on Monday and plans to go to a Boise hospital for rehabilitation in three weeks.
“She’s been a real trooper,” Taylor Nielson said. But he said his daughter has been struggling with the loss of her legs. “It’s been getting to her lately. She still has quite a bit of work to do yet before she is able to be more independent.”
Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by a bacteria.
A bloodstream infection that accompanies the illness causes soft tissue damage and resulted in the amputation of both Moore’s and Nielson’s lower legs.
A crisis team has been meeting with students at Moore’s high school this week, said Nancy Tschida, school counselor.
“It is very difficult for them because many of the students have been friends of his for a long time,” she said.
Moore’s funeral will be in the school gym at 1 p.m. Thursday. Members of The football team will act as pallbearers.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: To help Those who wish to help the Moore and Nielson families with medical bills can send donations to the following accounts: In Andy Moore’s name: First Security Bank and the White Pine Credit Union in Weippe near Lewiston. In Erin Nielson’s name: Mercy Medical Center in Nampa, Idaho, care of the development office.