SEATTLE — A 2-year-old Marysville, Wash., girl who contracted flesh-eating bacteria has undergone six surgeries on her right leg so far and is still hospitalized as doctors battle the infection.
“They said there was a possibility she could die; she could lose her leg,” said Zoey’s mother, Valorie Chalk.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a 1,000 people die in the United States from necrotizing fasciitis every year.
Valorie and her husband, Bryan Chalk, are still stunned their daughter contracted a flesh-eating bacteria.
“You don’t think as a flesh-eating bacteria or virus as a real thing — you think, yeah, right,” Valorie said.
“I didn’t even think it was a real thing. Now I am told not only is it a real thing, but it’s happening to my daughter,” Bryan said.
Zoey’s mother said it started with a rash on her daughter’s right ankle that quickly spread over her leg.
“It went from a tiny, little rash to it looked like someone had beat her on her leg,” Bryan said.
“It happened so fast; it wasn’t a day later, it was hours, within hours this happened,” Valorie emphasized.
Since then, surgeons have cut out sections of tissue from Zoey’s leg, saving her life and her leg. Her family said she still has to undergo multiple reconstructive surgeries.
“Inside I am a mess; I shake so much I can’t even update people on what’s going on,” Bryan said.
It’s hard for Zoey’s parents to explain how a normal day at home turned into a nightmare in just hours.
“Bleached that whole house down. I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know what it came off of, but my other kids are there, too, and what if they pick it up? It is terrifying,” Valorie said.
“I think for other parents, it is something you need to be aware of. Sometimes you have to hit the panic button even if you don’t feel like you need to,” she said.
On Monday, the family of five was finally able to be together. Zoey’s sister sang to her in her hospital bed.
Bryan, a cancer survivor, was recently a victim of a hit-and-run that left him with serious injuries.
If anyone would like to help the family cope with Zoey’s battle with flesh-eating bacteria, and the family’s medical bills, they can donate by going to www.zoeyshope.blogspot.com.