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

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Branson Carlisle was like a lot of 5-year-old boys.

He loved to run, play and didn't care much for shoes.

"He was always barefoot. He never wore his shoes," said Jessica Carlisle, Branson's mother.

Carlisle said her son also had a big heart for other children.

"He wanted all the kids in Africa to have toys," she told WHNT. "I mean, he was going to give his own toys."

Carlisle says Branson went around the house, collecting his own toys to give away to the less fortunate.

However, his plan was overtaken by a much bigger one.

Last Sunday, Branson said he had been bitten by a bug before the family headed off to church.

"He asked me to scratch his back. He said something had bit him," she said. "Whenever I went to pick up his shirt, the spider was laying beside his shirt."

The bite came from a brown recluse spider.

Branson's family immediately took him to a local clinic but the bite got worse.

They took Branson to the hospital and say he was his normal self until he closed his eyes and his heart stopped beating.

"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," she said.

In the wake of Branson's death, his family plans to carry out his wishes and donate his Christmas presents to other children.

"I feel very blessed to have had him, and I'm not going to question it because it was meant to be," she said.