VALLEY MILLS, TX — Funeral services are being held Friday, Sept. 20, for Lily Mae Avant, the 10-year-old Central Texas girl who died after battling a rare brain-eating amoeba for more than a week.
Services for Lily are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Open Range Cowboy Church located at 582 FM 1713 in Whitney, according to her family. The services are open to the public and will be followed by a private graveside service. The family said dress is casual and asks everyone to wear blue, in honor of Lily.
"Words can not begin to express how overwhelming this past week has been for our family. We have been flooded by your love and support and feel incredibly humbled by how many lives have been impacted by our sweet and sassy, Lily Mae," said Lily's family. "Our beautiful girl is completely healed and in the arms of Jesus."
The family also expressed their appreciation for everyone being respectful during this difficult time as they grieve their loss.
"Our faith in God has only been made stronger because of each of you. We may never understand why certain things happen here on earth, but we know God never left our sides. He has been right beside us and will continue to be our strength and see us through this," said Lily's family.
Multiple donation accounts have been set up in memory of Lily Mae. Donations can be made to the First National Bank of Whitney, or First National Bank of Valley Mills.
You can also donate through Venmo @LilyLaciJohn and Valley Mills ISD is selling #LilyStrong t-shirts, with all proceeds going to Lily Mae's family.
Food donations will be accepted Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Country Roads, located at 3261 FM 933 South, Whitney, Texas 76692. A meal train will be set up to begin on Monday, Sept. 23 and will be posted on the #LilyStrong page, according to a family member.
Lily Mae began having a headache on Sept. 8 which was quickly followed by a fever. The doctor prescribed Lily antibiotics, but it did not seem to be working.
Lily was then rushed to the ER a few days later because she was incoherent and unresponsive. Upon examination, she was given treatment for bacteria and viral meningitis and airlifted to Cook Children's in Fort Worth.
Her spinal tap said Lily contracted a very rare amoeba that is aggressive with a high fatality rate, according to the page.
The Texas Deptartment of State Health Services confirmed that a Bosque County resident has contracted PAM, primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
She passed away overnight on Sunday after battling the rare amoeba for more than a week, according to her family.
The community has come together to support the family and grieve the loss of Valley Mills Elementary student, Lily Mae Avant.
"Lily was an absolute blessing to our elementary school. She was an outstanding student, but more importantly, Lily was an incredible person and friend to all. She was loving, kind, respectful, and had a beautiful heart," said Valley Mills ISD in a statement.