PITTSBURGH - The Northview Heights community came together Saturday to remember a 6-year-old boy who died from meningitis.
JaiMere Goodman passed away Wednesday from what doctors determined to be rare acute meningitis.
Candles were lit and balloons were released during Saturday’s vigil for Goodman.
His mother, Tara Cabbagestalk, said she held the vigil to help her cope with the loss of her son and to show her appreciation for those who have supported her.
"I love my son, and I miss my son. I miss him saying, 'Mommy.' I wish I could have my son back. I'd do anything to have my son back,” said Cabbagestalk.
The Rev. Diana Marshall, pastor at Church of Our Savior, said, "We know that JaiMere is safe in the arms of the Lord. So now, we're going to keep the family in prayer."
Cabbagestalk said she has been getting calls from neighbors concerned about getting meningitis while she’s trying to figure out how to bury her son.
“He was just so, so young, and my baby still had a whole future ahead of him,” she said.
Goodman was a big brother to four siblings. His mom said he was a protector and helper.
The boy had been sick for a couple of days when his health rapidly began to fail.
“He ate his bowl of cereal at the table and said, ‘Mommy, I’m tired. I want to go lay down,’” Cabbagestalk told Channel 11’s Pamela Osborne. “I turned to him and his arm was really limp. That’s when we knew we needed to call the ambulance.”
Goodman passed away around 9 p.m. Wednesday at Allegheny General Hospital.
Officials from the health department said the particular strain of meningitis that led to Goodman’s death poses no risk to the public.
The boy’s mother hopes to give her son a proper burial but may need help from the public.
JaiMere's family setup a fund on Saturday for donations to help pay for JaiMere's funeral. All donations can be made through PNC Bank for the JaiMere Goodman Memorial Fund.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis, including 500 deaths, occurred each year between 2003 and 2007.