Family says 12-year-old loses part of leg to flesh-eating bacteria

MEDFORD, Ore. — “Before he went into surgery they said he might lose his leg. I mean, we’re thinking that’s horrible but at least it’s not his life,” said Paula Nealy, Mason’s Aunt.

The past week has been an emotional roller coaster for Paula Nealey and her family.

“I just thought it was the flu, I mean, all the kids get the flu,” she said. “I didn’t think anything honestly.”

She says the family was together Christmas Eve when her nephew, Mason, first started feeling sick.

Days later, the 12-year-old was airlifted to Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital in Portland.

“That was the hardest part just seeing him,” she said. “But they kept saying he was freakin’ strong. He was freakin’ strong, he was.”

She says Mason didn’t just have the flu, but cellulitis on his arm as well as a flesh eating bacteria on his leg.

“The right side they cut out all the tissue,” she said. “All the way to the bone. And to the left side they ended up cutting out all the tissue to the bone.”

After four surgeries, hundreds of stitches, and doctors removing part of Mason’s leg, Nealey says her nephew is doing light years better.

Although he isn’t out of the woods just yet.

“We don’t know if he’s going to have a wheelchair,” she said. “Right at this point, he is. And a ramp, we might have to have figured out for the front. I mean, it’s all different things you don’t think you have to think about until you do.”

The whole situation, she says, has been nothing short of taxing both emotionally and financially.

Mason is one of eight kids.

“It’s definitely been tough but we are a strong family,” she said. “We’re going to do whatever we can.”

Nealy says with the community and God on their side, the family is ready to brave the rest of this storm.

“I’ve never prayed this hard in my life and to see he’s come to where he’s come to [from] where he was… is amazing,” she said.

Click here for the family’s GoFundMe.

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