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Heart attack leaves local teen with brain damage

By Jonathan Weant
Published On: Jul 11 2014 05:22:32 PM CDT

He’s described as an outgoing person, full of life, full of energy and laughter.

But on May 19th, 2013, 15-year-old Elis Ray Tripp’s life would change forever.

He’s described as an outgoing person, full of life, full of energy and laughter.

But on May 19th, 2013, 15-year-old Elis Ray Tripp’s life would change forever.

“They described it as an adrenaline rush to the heart, which he could have been sitting and the same thing would have happened” said his mother Latisha Fields.

Ray had been playing basketball with friends; one of his favorite things to do, it was during the second game when he went to pick up the ball that he collapsed to the ground. He had a massive heart attack.

“Completely unexpected, completely unexpected” said his mother.

Ray’s mother said he was born with Tetralogy of Fallot or T-O-F. A birth defect that affects normal blood flow to the heart.

Because of the lack of oxygen to this brain that day, Ray now suffers brain damage, and is no longer able to talk, walk, or even move his arms and legs. He needs round the clock care and is confined to a wheelchair.

Setting aside her dream of becoming an attorney, his mother now sits by his side.

“Life no is completely different, everything from giving medication to turning, to changing, just everything, every hour something needs to be done” said Latisha.

Ray’s mother said over the past year he has improved some, however he needs at least another year of rehabilitation. There are several places where Ray could get that Rehab, but the problem is funding.

To help with the coast, friends, family and the community will come together on Saturday for a Basketball tournament in Ray’s honor.

The event will start with a motorcycle ride at 11am on Queen Street that will be escorted by the New Bern Police Department and the Craven County Sheriff’s Department as it heads down U.S. 70 toward Havelock. Upon return, the bikers will meet Ray at the Rocky Run Park where his family is having the basketball tournament.

Anyone who would like to donate to the family may do so by visiting www.gofundme.com/5rlnj4