MYFOXHOUSTON - He was a track star who qualified for the Junior Olympics three times, a straight “a” student, and a young man who loved God. His father Michael Riley, Sr. couldn’t have been more proud.
“He was self-motivated,” said Riney, he knew how to set goals and do things I didn't even have to teach him. He was special."
By all accounts, Michael Riley Jr. was the son most people only dream of having. A teen who showed wisdom beyond his tender age of 14.
“I think he did more in 14 than I did in 42,” said his grieving father. Michael’s Celebration of Life was held Friday night, at Sugar Creek Baptist Church.
Michael died from a rare brain infection caused by an amoeba that entered his nostrils when he went swimming in the lake, at Sam Houston State Park, on August 13th. By August 30th, he was dead.
“He cared about everyone he was friends with, said his sister, Asia, “he was like my best friend because we were so close to each other, we were 18 months apart.”
The brain-eating Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba caused what's called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. In the last 52 years, the CDC has documented only 133 cases with 3 survivors. Members of the Riley family say part of honoring Michael will be educating the public.
“If there's any good that can come out of this where someone can catch this in day 1 or day 2 where we didn't, then this could be a good thing,” said his father.
They want Michael to continue to make a positive difference in the world, just as he did when he was alive.
Michael's sister Ashley said, “he touched like everybody, this church can hold 2000 people and I'm pretty sure we could fill it and have people standing outside trying to get in.”