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TV show to tell of Leland’s battle with amoeba Oct. 27

The Animal Planet’s new season of Monsters Inside Me will share the story of a local boy who lost his life to a brain eating amoeba. First grader Leland Shoemake was only 6 years old when he fell ill, with doctors unable to diagnose his illness for weeks. The episode is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 and his family hopes it will make people more aware of the dangers of amoebas. ’It was the first time we had talked about everything in detail throughout his entire sickness. It was torture all over again reliving those awful days,’ said his mother Amber Shoemake. ‘But I told myself we had to do this, we had to bring awareness no matter the cost. As hard as it was for us, we needed to do this. And even if it only saves one life then it was worth it.’ A film crew from New York visited Pike County to film the Shoemakes for two days as his family recounted the story of Leland’s life and his illness. ’It was a very difficult couple of days and in the beginning, we had to talk about Leland in the present tense like he was still here because when it’s aired, some of the audience won’t know the outcome and that Leland passed away,’ said Amber. ‘We’re hoping that everyone will tune in and watch it. We don’t think we will be strong enough to watch it but our hopes are that everyone will watch it and learn about the amoeba, see that our story is real, Leland is an amazing boy and see what we all went through and that these amoeba show no prejudice when picking their victims.’ After losing Leland, the family established the Leland Shoemake Foundation to bring awareness about the frequency and danger of deadly amoeba and to help local families in need. Find out about LS Foundation at lelandshoemakefoundation.com. ’The foundation has been steadily doing well. We are planning the Santa picture event for the first weekend in December, we’re organizing Leland’s Christmas Lane so children can come with their families to enjoy a light show in the county and we’re also planning and developing the idea of taking applications and donations to help under privileged children this Christmas,’ said Amber. September 2016 marked one year since Leland passed away and a huge celebration was held at Northridge Church in Meansville Sept. 24, to raise funds for the LS Foundation. The event included vendors, inflatables, paintball, food, games, arts and crafts, cupcake decorating, zip lines, pony rides, auctions, raffles and more.

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