Mother of Terminally Ill Boy Exposed to Measles is an Anti-Vaxxer

Mother of Terminally Ill Boy Exposed to Measles is an Anti-Vaxxer April 4, 2019

A California mother is in the news claiming her terminally ill son was exposed to the measles at a local hospital. The hospital says the boy never developed the virus. In multiple media interviews, Rayna Souza has blamed anti-vaxxers for making irresponsible choices for their families. However, Rayna has an extended social media history proving she is against vaccinations.

In an interview with FOX40 in Sacramento, Rayna Souza told the outlet that her son Jackson was exposed to the measles at UC Davis Medical Center in March.

Souza says her son has a terminal disease called tuberous sclerosis. The disorder causes small tumors to form in the brain, and some cases can be terminal.

On her Hope for Jackson page, Souza has been sharing her son’s journey for years. In the summer of 2018, she updated followers to tell them that the doctors found 100 tumors inside his brain.

According to Souza, a pediatrician sat her down and said to her that Jackson would eventually die from the disease. Due to HIPAA, there is no way to confirm whether Jackson has a terminal form of the disease.

Since her announcement on the Facebook page, Souza has shared fundraisers, asked for donations, and shared a GoFundMe started to help her with Jackson’s expenses. As a single mom, Souza said the money would help cover the costs of her son’s expenses.

Not only does Souza share information about Jackson, but she’s also used his page to promote her belief that vaccines are toxic. In a quick review of her page, I found a handful of posts she made that were critical of pharmaceuticals and vaccines. She even shared a link to Del BigTree’s HighWire.

As recently as January 15, she shared that vaccines contain aluminum.

In a post on July 16, 2018, she claims that her son was vaccine injured by the MMR. According to Souza, doctors gave the vaccine to her son without her permission. She then shared a link to a known conspiracy theory website, Health Nut News.

In September 2018, she again shared an article about Japan stopping mandatory vaccinations. She wrote,

“i am a supporter of families having the right to choose. there are a lot of convincing “reports” going around still defending vaccines, or against vaccinations, etc. but my only advice is to do your own personal research to the point that you feel comfortable with whatever choice you end up making.

i just wanted to share our personal story of Jackson’s experience. Because there’s no going back in time. But you can take all the time in the world you need to research before you feel pressured to make a choice one way or another.”

These posts are only a sampling of the dozens of items shared about her belief that vaccines are dangerous and full of heavy metals.

Knowing she shared her anti-vax views as recently as January, it’s hard to believe that she’s had a sudden about-face about vaccines. However, in a news report on Foxs40 on April 2nd, Souza was angry at anti-vaxxers for exposing her terminally ill son to the measles.

In her own words, Jackson received his MMR at 18 months old. If he’ received at least some of the vaccinations, he would have some immunity to the virus. Also, the Chief Pediatric Director of the hospital told Fox40 that Jackson never developed the measles virus.

FOX40 spun the story by having Souza say she “believed” Jackson showed all the symptoms. Regardless, the hospital discharged Jackson from the hospital without a measles diagnosis.

In the final statement to FOX40, Souza hammered at anti-vaxxers and their irresponsible choice. She said,

“People making irresponsible decisions for their family and their child need to really, really look and see how that could affect other people because I still could lose my son,” Souza said.

This statement is interesting given the fact that she said in July 2018 that she believes all people should conduct their own research on vaccinations. Additionally, she stated that all families have the right to make their own informed choice about vaccines.

Her vocalness that she believes that her son regressed after receiving the MMR vaccine has also been widely documented on the Hope for Jackson Facebook page.

Given her history, the story about her son’s exposure may be right. The hospital did say that Jackson went into a room an hour after a little girl with the measles was in the room. UC Davis said,

“Jackson was in the room, the emergency department room, where this other patient was seen,” said UC Davis Health Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Dean Blumberg. “It was less than an hour separation between them. So, there was potentially still measles virus in the air.”

Potentially exposed and exposed are very different when it comes to the measles. Additionally, Jackson is vaccinated for the measles by the mother’s admission.

Why is she mad at anti-vaxxers when she is an admitted anti-vaxxer?

Perhaps the motivation is financial. In the FOX40 article, Souza shared her son’s GoFundMe. On her son’s Facebook page, she often shares links to donate to her to help with his expenses.

Was she hoping to capitalize on the anti-vax stories in the media to get attention and money?



If her motivation is financial, that is hard to say. What is for sure is this mother can’t be mad at anti-vaxxers because she’s one of them. In her own words, she supports a family’s right to chose to vaccinate or not vaccinate their children.

She’s promoted that people educate themselves about the toxic ingredients of vaccines. She believes the MMR caused her son to regress. How then can she blame anti-vaxxers for not vaccinating?

Sure, she could have lost her son. However, she’s encouraged people not vaccinate. This seems a touch hypocritical. Thankfully, Jackson did not contract the virus.

Something about this story is totally off.

If the mainstream media wants to promote anti-vax stories, there is a responsibility that stories and backgrounds of subjects are vetted. Finding Souza’s history and anti-vax beliefs took me less than 10 minutes. Do better, media!


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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  • Mopsy Pontner

    I’m shocked, shocked to find there are self-promoting grifters using social media. (I am sorry about the kid, though. You don’t get to choose your parents)

  • Ann Kah

    “Parents should do their own research” means (in almost every possible case) “parents should google it”, where of course all the available information will be factual and non-biased… /s

  • This sounds so incredibly weird. Are we 100% sure this gal isn’t a munchie or something?

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    I’m going with grifters gonna grift.

  • bullet

    People making irresponsible decisions for their family and their child need to really, really look and see how that could affect other people because I still could lose my son,” Souza said.”

    The only inference here is that not vaccinating your child is an irresponsible decision.

  • Carra McClelland

    Tuberous sclerosis complex has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to increase the risk of developing tumors and other problems with development. In about one-third of cases, an affected person inherits an altered TSC1 or TSC2 gene from a parent who has the disorder. The remaining two-thirds of people with tuberous sclerosis complex are born with new mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 gene. These cases, which are described as sporadic, occur in people with no history of tuberous sclerosis complex in their family. TSC1 mutations appear to be more common in familial cases of tuberous sclerosis complex, while mutations in the TSC2 gene occur more frequently in sporadic cases.

    Edited: Poor little dude has the second kind that is a spontaneous DNA mutation. Damn 🙁

  • yep!

  • persephone

    I’m due for a rewatch. I love that movie so much.