After two-year-old Tripp Halstead was hit on the head after a falling tree limb, he suffered brain injuries and had to be taken care of by his devoted parents, Bill and Stacy Halstead. Tripp died of complications arising from his brain injuries on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the young age of seven.
It was a regular day at the Cribs to Crayons daycare center on Church Street in Winder, Georgia, on Monday, October 29, 2018, when then-two-year-old Tripp Halstead was playing with other kids. The time was 11:30 a.m., and the kids were having fun playing outside the daycare center. Then, a strong gust of wind came out of nowhere, and a tree branch cracked and fell on Tripp’s head and neck.
A Terrible Freak Accident
An employee saw the whole thing happen and tried to prevent it. Connie Wilbanks, the owner of the daycare center, said, “[The employee] heard the tree crack. Then she saw the tree falling, and she tried to run to it, but she couldn’t get there in time. It all happened so fast.”
Tripp was unconscious and immediately rushed to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he underwent emergency surgery to reduce the swelling around his brain where the 10-foot branch struck him.
Bill Halstead got the news about his son’s condition from doctors, who told him that Tripp’s “injury is across both sides of the brain which makes it much worse. It is still far too early to know what the outcome will be or what the lasting damage will be.”
Years of Hardship
Since then, and until Tripp Halstead died on Thursday, March 15, 2018, his parents were on a roller coaster ride.
They had to accept fearful news regarding complications Tripp suffered, including problems breathing. There was, however, good news when doctors noted a brief reduction in pressure around his brain. Tripp was in and out of hospitals for several surgeries, which drained Bill and Stacy Halstead financially and emotionally.
A family friend set up a Facebook page for the Halsteads, which had updates about their son’s condition, and asked people to pray and donate for Tripp’s recovery. Tripp’s story was covered by the media and many strangers responded to their appeal.
These well-wishers continued to follow Tripp’s condition and health status through media reports and social media. A donation fund to help Tripp was set up at PNC banks, and the Halsteads posted on social media that they were overwhelmed by people’s support and words of encouragement.
Throughout these difficult five years, people followed Tripp’s progress, as well as his parents’ love and devotion toward their only son, whom they called their “miracle baby.”
Early Signs of Trouble
On Thursday (March 15) morning, Stacy went to wake Tripp up for school at their home in Jefferson, a town roughly 60 miles from Atlanta, when she noticed that his breathing was labored. She later wrote on Facebook, “I could see his little chest going up and down and his heart rate was high. We already had oxygen on because it helps him sleep better at night, so no alarms had gone off.”
Stacy tried to move him, but Tripp whined and, in her words, “had crazy diarrhea.” She then called his pediatrician who asked her to bring him over for an examination. Tripp’s condition got worse as Stacy drove to the pediatrician’s office. She worried if there was enough oxygen in the tank for her to make it in time, given Atlanta’s heavy traffic.
So she took him to Athens, Georgia, where doctors immediately performed blood work on Tripp, put him through some x-rays, and gave him an IV. They told Tripp’s parents that his oxygen levels were low, while his carbon dioxide levels were high.
End of a Boy’s Life
The doctors also informed the Halsteads that Tripp’s left lung was cloudy, which could mean that he was suffering from pneumonia or a mucous plug, and advised taking their son to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).
Both Bill and Stacy were in the room when Tripp passed away at around 5:47 p.m. on March 15. His heart gave out, and his parents were devastated.
Later that day, they wrote a heartfelt message on Facebook to everyone who supported them and Tripp throughout their ordeal, thanking them. Little Tripp Halstead is gone, but he will live on in the hearts and memories of those who knew him and his story.