Funeral services were held Saturday, July 22, in Mesquite, with hundreds of family and friends in attendance to celebrate the life of Woodrow Bundy, a little boy who “brought joy and a little bit of fear to everyone, especially his mom,” according to his obituary.
At the service, a hallway full of pictures portrayed a boy living life to the fullest. He was described as a little tornado who enjoyed chasing his big sisters, wrestling with and working with his dad and playing with all the animals. He was especially fascinated with elk, and “his elk bugle was unmatched.” After each energetic day, a favorite lullaby sung by his mom would calm him “enough to get a few hours of sleep and then the new adventure would begin.”
Parents Mel and Briana Bundy, who live in Alamo, shared that Woodrow “fought with the strength of 1,000 men” after being diagnosed with Naegleria fowleri, an extremely rare and almost always fatal brain-eating amoeba. He passed away on July 19. The illness originally presented seven days earlier with flu-like symptoms and was first thought to be meningitis. Woodrow was more than likely exposed to the amoeba while swimming at Ash Springs, according to state health officials.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data reflects that between the years 1962 and 2022, only four out of 157 people in the U.S. survived after being infected by the amoeba. Between 2013 and 2022, 29 cases were reported, the majority of which were in boys under 14. The parasite travels up the nose to the brain via the olfactory nerve, which connects to the brain and controls the sense of smell. Once the amoeba has reached the brain, it can cause the fatal destruction of brain tissue. The microscopic predator is found worldwide and usually resides in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, and has, in very rare cases, previously been found in poorly maintained swimming pools, splash pads, surf parks or other recreational venues. The amoeba cannot survive in saltwater and cannot spread from one person to another. Naegleria fowleri caused panic across the state last year when a Nevada boy contracted the amoeba, potentially at Lake Mead, and also died from the infection. Swimmers are advised not to disturb the soil or put their head under water. Wearing nose plugs and avoiding ingestion of the water can also help prevent contraction.
The boy’s mother wrote in a Facebook post, “He is my hero and I will forever be grateful to God for giving me the goodest baby boy on earth, and I am grateful to know I will have that boy in heaven someday.”
Woodrow’s aunt, Lisa Bundy, shared, “I believe strongly we will be with him again. He is loved so much by a very large family.”
Family friend Todd Engel announced a fund to help the family with medical costs, funeral arrangements and loss of income following the tragedy. Friends and loved ones are asking for the public to help by donating to a recently opened GoFundMe.
One hundred percent of the contributions are being accepted by Engel to forward directly to Mel and Briana Bundy. Donations can also be made to the family via Venmo @Mel-Bundy or through an account set up a the Pahranagat Valley Federal Credit Union.