Twelve-year-old boy from Louisburg dies from bacterial meningitis

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LOUISBURG, Kan. -- A 12-year-old boy suddenly died of bacterial meningitis. It's a rare strain and doctors say this particular strain is not contagious. It happened in Louisburg, which is about 40 miles south of Kansas City.

Just a few days ago, 12-year-old Aaron Willard, was healthy and happy. But within 24-hours, that all changed.

"I watched it. Words can't describe it. The horrible images I have to live with. I know he wasn't alone," said Willard's aunt, Melissa Farr, as she wiped away tears. "His grandma and I were there with him. He's free now. He can do anything he wants."

While most strains of bacterial meningitis are contagious, the one that took Aaron's life is not, so it is not a public health risk.

"They said he wasn't contagious, so that doesn't make sense to me. I don't know how he got in contact with it," said Pam Poore of her grandson.

The family was unprepared for this tragedy. Now, they are urgently putting together funeral arrangements and asking the public for help.

"You don't ever think you're going to ever bury your children or grandchildren," Poore said.

"You don’t have a plot picked out, you don’t have a casket, you don’t have any of that kind of stuff that goes along because who would? Being so sudden," Farr added.

As the family continues to lean on each other for support, they’re left with only  memories of a boy whose life was cut too short.

If you want to help the family, visit FBCStilwell.org. Under the "Contact Us" tab, there is a "Giving" tab. Choose the "Aaron Willard Fund" to donate.

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10 comments

  • Carolyn Zeller

    This is a horrible tragedy and my prayers go out to all the family and friends of this little boy. I know first hand how devastating this sickness is… My son had a sever case of pneumococcal meningitis when he was four months old. He was very very very sick. He suffered several strokes and resulting brain damage. He had a twelve day stay in the picu at CMH and then another two and a half weeks inpatient. He survived. He is now 6 years old and even though our life was turned upside down with doctors telling us he would be moderately to severely handicapped, I always think back to the fact that he is still here and how lucky we are for that. This situation breaks my heart and if anyone here knows the family please send them a message telling them that they actually are not alone in the terror of this infection the doctors called “bad luck”. We were there and I wish I could contact them but now is not the time…. Prayers for healing and peace to them for the anger, confusion, sorrow and agony they are feeling. Even though my son survived, I feel their pain.

  • Patches

    Cole we all miss Aaron and it isn’t the same in the hall without him. Even tho he was only at our school for a year I’m glad I can say I knew him and I Will miss the most about him is his smile and his personalty.