Elizabeth "Beth" Knight was an intelligent, beautiful, caring, mother of 2 wonderful children. The old saying "Her smile could light up a room" was never more true with Beth. Her smile could not only light up a room but we had always believed it could light up the world. Maybe that is what parents are supposed to believe. Anyone who knew Beth could instantly see her gentle and caring soul. I think that is what drew people to her. She loved people and people loved her. She was always willing to reach out to a friend in need, whether it was a friend she had just met or someone she had known for many years. It did not matter to her. Beth was the type of person that loved people, a social butterfly, if you will. Even if you had just met her she considered you a friend for life.
Beth was a fabulous mother of 2 wonderful children. She loved them so much and they thought their mother literally "Hung the Moon". It is rare in this time that we live in that someone gets to witness the special devotion those 3 had. We loved watching her mature from a child into a loving and caring mother, daughter, sister, and friend to anyone she met. It was truly a blessing. We were so very proud of our young, caring, beautiful daughter. Her thoughtful, caring, and loving ways she treated other people was a blessing to behold. We want her legacy to live on through bringing awareness of Naegleria fowleri to other families so they will never have to learn to live without a child or any loved one to a preventable disease. We know Beth would be doing the same if she were with us today.
What started out as a fun filled day at the very popular Lake Murray in Ardmore, OK., ended in tragedy in less than 6 days. On Aug. 4th, 2015 Beth, along with her 2 children and her boyfriend spent the day trying to beat the summer heat by spending a day at the lake. Three days later on Aug. 7th, Beth began to have severe headaches and sought medical treatment at the local ER. She was diagnosed with migraine headaches, treated and sent home. After sleeping until the early afternoon the following day, her roommate called us and said she was having difficulty walking, talking, and her headaches were worse than the previous day. She returned to the hospital on Aug. 8th with the classic signs and symptoms of meningitis and after a spinal tap she was misdiagnosed with bacterial meningitis. She did not respond to therapy and deteriorated throughout the night. She was placed on a ventilator and airlifted to Oklahoma City the following morning. Our loving, healthy, happy, beautiful, daughter and mother of 2 children passed away on Aug. 10th, 2015, at 24 years of age from Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). In less than 6 days of Beth coming into contact with the Lake Water we had no idea our lives would be forever changed.
We received the final diagnosis on Aug 10th, the day Beth passed away. The attending physician confirmed it was the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, that caused the rapidly fatal disease of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis. Like most physicians, I read about this disease in med school but knew very little about Naegleria fowleri or PAM. We made it our mission to carry on Beth's legacy by spreading awareness of the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri and PAM to other families and the medical community. We never want another family to know what is like to live without your child that has passed away from a preventable disease. This disease is 98% fatal but 100% preventable. Beth had compassion and love for others and she loved helping other people any way she could. We want to continue her passion of helping others by bringing awareness of Naegleria fowleri, "The Brain Eating Amoeba" and the fatal disease it causes, Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). It is our mission of, Beth Smiles Amoeba Awareness, to educate other families not only about the 98% fatality rate of Naegleria fowleri but more importantly about prevention of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis.