ATLANTA - Tripp Halstead, the young boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury a little over five years ago, has died. He was only 7-years-old.
Bill Halstead, Tripp's father confirmed the sad news to FOX 5 News Thursday night.
The boy had gained a large fan following on Facebook showcasing his recovery. Over the past years, Tripp’s mother, Stacy Halstead, has shared her family's story with the world, posting updates about the highs and lows on her Tripp Halstead Updates Facebook page.
Stacy posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon about an unexpected downturn:
“Oh how fast things can change! I went to wake Tripp up for school this morning and he was having labored breathing. I could see his little chest going up and down and his heart rate was high.”
His mother said he took Tripp to an Athens, Georgia emergency room where they stabilized him for transport to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
"They said his left lung was Cloudy and it could be pneumonia or a mucus plug but since they don’t have a Peds ICU, they are sending us to CHOA," Stacy wrote.
Stacy later posted a heartfelt message regarding Tripp which read:
“There are no words to express how Bill and I are feeling at this moment. We are beyond devastated and honestly I believe I am in shock. Our amazing, perfect, beautiful miracle of a son, Tripp Hughes Halstead passed away at 5:47 pm today. He was our whole world.
“We love you Trippadoo and you will never realize the impact you made on our lives.
“I have no idea when I will post again. I’m still processing everything. But Bill and I were in the room when he passed at the hospital. His little body was just done fighting this last infection. His little heart gave out. This winter was brutal for him. I’m just so thankful he had the best summer ever. Jet skis, Disney World, the list is endless and that’s when we got those amazing huge smiles.
“At this time, I will not be reading the comments but your welcome to leave them for me to read in the coming weeks.
“You have been the most loyal and outstanding followers we could have ever asked for and We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the past 5 1/2 years. You let us into your lives and You were there when we needed you most.
“Love, Bill and Stacy”
In 2012, his mother, Stacy Halstead watched her 2-year-son "walk" into his daycare center in Winder, Georgia. That would be the last time she would see him before his shocking accident.
Tripp was outside his daycare center when a limb from a tree fell, hitting him in the head. He suffered severe brain injuries and spent months recovering at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"The world as we knew it stopped on Oct 29, 2012," Stacy said in a Facebook post today.
In an update on this past anniversary, Stacy admitted that sometimes these anniversaries are very painful, writing that the day five years ago was "life-changing."
"I have been a strong mommy for 5 years, I think it’s ok to be sad thinking about that day. I can always be strong again tomorrow," she wrote.
Evans Funeral Home posted Tripp's obituary on their webpage Friday. It read in part:
"Evans Funeral Home announces the death of Tripp Hughes Halstead, age 7 of Jefferson, Georgia who entered into rest Thursday, March 15, 2018. Tripp was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia the son of William Halstead, Jr. and Stacy Hughes Halstead of Jefferson, Georgia. Tripp was one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a well loved little boy and a founding member of “Team Boom.”
"Survivors in addition to his parents are maternal grandparents, Larry “BoBo” and Connie “MiMi” Hughes of Jefferson, paternal grandparents, Gary “PaPa” and Diane “NaNa” Taylor of Black Mountain, North Carolina. Grandfather, William Halstead of Zephyrhills, Florida, Great grandmothers, Rynn Hughes of Murphy, North Carolina, and Noreen Humberstone of Weedsport, New York. Great grandfather, Arthur Halstead of Zephyrhills, Florida. Beloved aunts, uncles and cousins also survive."
Thousands are now expected to say their final goodbyes to Tripp at a memorial service on Sunday. Evans Funeral Home has announced Tripp's memorial service will be held at the Jefferson Civic Center on Sunday, March 18 at 7 p.m. A visitation, also at the Jefferson Civic Center, will take place from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. immediately before the memorial service.
The Jefferson Civic Center is located at 65 Kissam Street in Jefferson, Georgia.
Tripp's family is asking that in lieu of flowers, those who have followed their journey to donate to a charity of their choice in Tripp's name.
In a Facebook post on Friday evening, Stacy wrote that she was still in shock:
"I think I’m still in shock. I am working on autopilot. I have called Tripp’s suppliers and stopped his medical supplies. We met with the funeral director and picked out an Urn. That was not an easy task and something I never thought about doing. Talked to numerous Drs and Canceled Appts. I’m trying to stay busy.
"I have hugged tooo many family members and close friends today to even remember who has stopped by. It is all a blur.
"I do know I have eaten. My family keeps fixing me a plate and making sure I eat.
"Tori Beth and MJ have stayed busy with their friends today so they weren’t given the chance to be sad. That will come soon enough. The rest of the family is hanging in there.
"I honestly don’t know what to do with myself. I’m in bed now trying to sleep but I just felt the need to post. Posting has been an extremely important part of my life for the past 5 1/2 years. Hard habit to break."
She went on to write that she is fully aware there are people out there that would wish to take advantage of her family's tragedy:
"We have had the same donation/informational/PayPal link for the past 5 years at www.tripphalsteadupdates.com and the same PO Box for the past could years.
"Po box 509
"Jefferson GA 30549 if you would like to send a simple card.
"If you wish to make a donation in honor of Tripp, we encourage you to chose the charity of your choice. We have so many charities to thank, wouldn’t be fair to chose just one."
She ended the post by thanking everyone for their prayers during this extremely difficult time.