A family outing to the petting zoo turned to a nightmare just hours after it began when Kallan, 3, and Kade Maresh, 5, fell violently ill.
Their mother, Tyffani Maresh, says her two little ones suddenly began vomiting, and experienced ‘non-stop’ bloodied diarrhoea.
After several visits to the emergency room left doctor’s baffled, tests at the University of Minnesota revealed the pair had contracted a deadly shiga toxin bacterial infection and it was causing kidney failure.
Three-year-old Kallan was the hardest hit.
‘The toxin from the bacteria not only damaged Kallan's kidneys but also her neurological system. Her brain and heart were being damaged. Our sweet sweet little girl lost the battle and went to heaven last night,’ wrote Tyffani on the family’s Caring Bridge page.
Kade was also dangerously ill but is showing signs of recovery.
‘He has had a blood transfusion is on kidney dialysis and may need platelets. He has a long road to recovery and we hope and pray the toxins stay away from his brain and heart and other organ systems,’ mum explains.
‘It is absolutely heart breaking watching your babies in so much pain and being so helpless.’
In the midst of her sudden and devastating loss, Tyffani has one message for anyone touched by her story:
‘Hug your babies tight and let your loved ones know you care’.