Foundation gives away sporting goods to honor boy killed by amoebic infection

Jordan Smelski killed after amoeba entered brain

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – This weekend News 6 discovered a special kind of sporting good store at the Seminole Towne Center where everything is free. There is no catch. All of the equipment was donated and was given away to children.

A local couple put the whole thing together to honor their young son that died last year from an amoebic infection.  
For children who might not otherwise get anything this year, everything at the store was donated in memory of Jordan Smelski.

"Every time a new kid comes in, you can see Jordan in their eyes, the joy they have when they're getting these new things," said Ethan Klein, who was one of Jordan's best friends.

He was at the event Sunday helping out.

"I'm proud I'm doing something about it and not just sitting around," he said. "Of course, I'm missing him every second, but doing something makes a difference."

It's been a year and a half since Jordan's parents lost their little boy after an ameoba went up his nose and into his brain while he was swimming in hot springs in Costa Rica.

"It's very difficult," said Jordan's mom, Shelly Smelskli. "(We) really miss Jordan. (He was) full of life, always loved to see everyone laugh. (We) really miss him."

So the Smelskis decided to start a foundation: Jordan's Sporting Good Store -- a Christmas event, they call it, reminding other parents and children about the dangers of swimming in warm summer water, and at the same time, giving away sports stuff, because of Jordan's love for sports.

"That's part of the reason we do the foundation -- to keep his memory alive," Smelski said. "This is the type of stuff he would have wanted to be a part of."

Ameobas are everywhere in the world, but in the U.S., most people -- children mainly -- have picked them up swimming in Florida and Texas.

When an ameoba makes it to the brain, it is almost always fatal.

Click here to learn more about amoebas or to help Jordan's foundation get results.

About the Authors:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.