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Daycare teacher loses foot to flesh-eating bacteria

Posted at 6:44 AM, Mar 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-03 06:44:00-05

HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) – Raul Reyes is using a walker and is in good spirits. He was close to death just a few days before.

"I think about it every day – every day he’s been here – I think about how I could have lost him," said Joseline Alfaro, Reyes’ wife.

Concerned about what he thought was a blister last week, the 26-year-old went to a clinic where he learned he’d contracted flesh-eating bacteria.

“It just all happened so fast,” Alfaro said.

Before it could spread to Reyes’ bloodstream, doctors amputated his foot, a life-changing surgery.

The doctors said Reyes would have died if they hadn’t operated.

Alfaro said doctors believe the bacteria entered through an open wound from an ingrown toenail, but they don’t know where Reyes encountered the bacteria. Common places for infection are salt or brackish water.

"We were like, ‘No, he's perfectly healthy. We haven’t gone to the beach in a year.’ So, it's just weird how all of this happened," Alfaro said.

The west Houston daycare teacher doesn’t have insurance, but his family wants him to have a prosthetic foot. His sister-in-law has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money.

Reyes is very grateful for the support and is pushing himself to move forward.

Using a walker and undergoing other therapies are part of his daily routine now. Alfaro said Reyes’ 3-year-old students are helping him get through.

“Sometimes I send him videos of the kids saying ‘hi’ to him and it just raises his spirits, and he wants to go back to work already and be with the kids,” Alfaro said.

Copyright 2018 KTRK via CNN. All rights reserved.