Father contracts Valley Fever, dies weeks after moving to Arizona

MESA, AZ - A Valley family is grieving after a young father died due to Valley Fever.

Loved ones say the common fungal infection killed the 32-year-old father in just two weeks.

"He always took care of me. Even up until the end," said Franique Allen, Brian's lifelong partner who he had been with for 13 years.

Their only child, Kal'el, was Brian's pride and joy.

"[Kal'el] is taking it a little bit harder because Brian always took care of him. Even when I was in pharmacy school and had two jobs," said Allen.

The family of three moved to the Valley in April to start a new life.

"As soon as he got the job here, he got sick."

Less than five weeks after unpacking, the family's world was forever changed.

"I guess he didn’t build up immunity," said Allen. "He was working and he was caught in a dust storm and he inhaled the fungus in the air and it went to his lungs."

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Initially, it seemed minor.

"He was experiencing headaches...and chills," she said.

That was May 20th. Allen, who is a pharmacist, quickly realized something was wrong.

"Later on that afternoon on the 21st I admitted him to the ER and he didn’t even know who I was. He didn’t know who his son was."

Brian bounced from an emergency clinic to Mercy Gilbert, then St. Joseph's in Phoenix.

"He was in St. Joseph’s for a week, on that Saturday, then he passed away on my birthday, [on] June 2nd."

It had not even been two weeks since the headaches began.

Franique and Brian had never even heard of Valley Fever when they went to the ER.

She is hoping her tragedy can prevent others from the same loss.

"Just bring awareness for someone who is just a new resident here," she said. "If there can be vaccines created...He didn’t deserve to [die like this] or anyone else."

Brian would be turning 33 on Thursday, September 20.

Now his teenage sweetheart will celebrate by reminiscing over old pictures.

His family, now without their family man.

"He just wants his daddy to come back," said Allen, consoling Kal'el.

On top of the heartbreak, Allen said Brian's new company is apparently not responsible for the medical bills and she is currently trying to figure out how to cover the costs.

You can learn more about Valley Fever here.

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