Foodborne Illness:
  People who've fallen victim


    Kayla Boner


"She stayed home from school with flu-like symptoms. When the symptoms increased in severity (bloody in her stools), Kayla was admitted to Pella Community Hospital with C-diff. and was treated with antibiotics."
  — Kayla's mother

October 22, 1993 - November 2, 2007

On November 2, 2007, I said goodbye to my 14-year-old daughter Kayla.

Kayla was a healthy, active, typical "pain-in-the-neck" teenager. She talked excessively on her cell phone, loved to be with her friends, and argued about curfews. She was a sports fanatic, playing sports every season, and she was active in her church.

Kayla turned 14 on October 22, 2007. She didn't have school that day, so it was the perfect opportunity to get her driver's permit. She called me at work several times to remind me of her impending rite of passage. After passing the exam, instead of begging to drive, Kayla asked to go home because she wasn't feeling well. The next day, she stayed home from school with flu-like symptoms. When the symptoms increased in severity (bloody in her stools), Kayla was admitted to Pella Community Hospital with C-diff. and was treated with antibiotics and was starting to get better.

On Monday October 29, Kayla took a turn for the worse. Her kidneys had shut down and that is when the doctors ran more tests and found out Kayla had E. coli O111. She was transferred to Blank Children's Hospital where she was to start dialysis, which started late Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning Kayla was lethargic and confused. She had a seizure and had to be put on a ventilator. In spite of many other tests, Kayla never got better.

On November 2 Kayla started to have a heart problems and on that day my husband had to make the hardest decision of his life to let our little girl go. We shut off the life support system and told them not to bring her back since there was no brain activity. At 10:00 that morning Kayla died peacefully, surrounded by the people who loved her. She is dearly missed by all.


Thank you to STOP Foodborne Illness and the individuals shown above and their families for permission to republish their testimonies and photographs.

Copyright © 2011 Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.

Last page update: September 11, 2011