Family of 5-year-old boy killed by spider bite to carry out his final Christmas wish

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Five-year-old Branson Carlisle had a plan his parents are proud of, but although a rare instance changed his family’s life forever, they’re still going to carry out his wish.

“He was always barefoot. He never wore his shoes,” Jessica Carlisle says, as she clicks her way through memories on a desktop computer.

She smiles at some pictures, looks thoughtful at others.

Looking through all of the pictures will take a while. Carlisle has hundreds of them. For five years most of those pictures focused her son Branson.

Those pictures show him smiling, grinning, and in one instance, standing in a bucket, but what they don’t show is his big heart. “He wanted all the kids in Africa to have toys,” Carlisle says, “I mean he was going to give his own toys.”

Branson would go around the house collecting his own toys to give away.

Last Sunday though, his plan was overtaken by a bigger one.

It happened before his family headed off to church. “He asked me to scratch his back, he said something had bit him,” Carlisle says.

The bite came from a brown recluse spider.

“When I went to pick up his shirt the spider was laying beside his shirt,” Carlisle says.

They took Branson to a local care center, but the bite got worse.

Carlisle and some other family members went to the hospital with Branson, and throughout it all, Branson was his normal self.

After a while though, Branson shut his eyes, and his heart stopped.

“The only time they got his heartbeat back was the seventeenth time they shocked him, and they had his heart beating for four seconds, and I had enough time to tell him I loved him,” Carlisle says.

She and her family are going to carry out Branson’s wish, and donate his Christmas presents to kids who won’t get any.

That’s what Branson wanted to do.

“I feel very blessed to have had him, and I’m not going to question it, because it was meant to be,” Carlisle says.

Branson’s family says he was a normal, healthy boy, and they had pest control come once a month.

If you want to help with Branson’s wish, his family’s church is accepting toys. His family says you can drop them off at Freelife Worship Center in Sardis.