WACO, TX — Temperatures are already soaring across much of the Lone Star state.
It's a good time to remember that Texas heat can prove a killer.
“I gave it thought, but not every-day thought,” said Copper Comita.
Comita's 15-year-old son, Reid, was on a grueling, west Texas Boy Scout hike in 2017 when he suddenly collapsed, before dying a short time later. Heatstroke was later ruled the cause.
Not a day goes by now that Copper doesn’t think of heatstroke, and how it drastically changed her family’s life on that June day four years ago.
“You move forward in the sense that you learn how to deal with it. You find ways to keep yourself busy and to remember your child, and to do good for others. But you don’t get over it, ever,” said Comita.
Since his death, Copper has been on a mission to raise awareness. She says no matter the circumstances, or the person, if it's hot and someone is struggling, listen up.
“Some think if they ask for help, or need help, they’re weak. That’s not the case,” she said.
The summer months are typically filled with Central Texans experiencing heat illnesses, said Dr. Joshua Houser an ER physician at Baylor, Scott and White Hillcrest.
“There’s some days we see 15-20 people like this in a 24-hour period,” said Houser.
What starts as cramps can lead to heat exhaustion, and then even heat stroke. The elderly and young are most at risk, but so are teens and younger adults.
“Vomiting, weakness, dizziness, and pass out. And then all the way to Heatstroke, a medical emergency, and you need to call 911,” said Houser.
The Comita family has two scholarships now established in Reid’s name, one based here in Texas.
If they can help even one other family avoid such a tremendous loss, Copper said they're making progress.