Hundreds of people turned out at a fundraiser on Thursday to support a young Winder boy injured by a fallen tree branch.
Tripp Halstead, 2, was playing in the backyard of his daycare last Monday when he was struck in the head by a tree branch.
Halstead, 2, is recovering at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. On Thursday, doctors removed a breathing tube for the first time since the accident. His parents said it was a struggle to watch Tripp breath, but said they were encouraged by the prayers and support.
Crystal Condon, Tripp's aunt, says the boy's mother won't leave his bedside at the hospital.
Tripp's young cousin, Tori Beth, is a constant visitor. Everyone is praying for his recovery after a stroke last Friday from brain swelling, which has subsided considerably.
"Now it's just how much brain damage was done from the initial accident, and then from the swelling and the stroke on Friday," said Condon.
Tripp's family said they believe he is feeling all the support from the hundreds who turned out at Dairy Queen and the thousands who have posted on Facebook.
"[Tripp's mother] will say, ‘Tripp, look, you know, we're up to 50,000 likes,' and she says, ‘Dairy Queen has a gazillion people there right now for you,'" said Condon.
The owners of the Dairy Queen on West May Street in Winder pledged to give 20 percent of their sales on Thursday to the Halstead family to help with their medical expenses.
Breakfast business was brisk and by lunch, the place was packed both inside and out.
People say they wanted to be at the Dairy Queen to help.
"As soon as I found out about it when FOX ran the story, I tried to make sure that everybody in my office also came by," said Brian Miler.
Tripp's parents say the 2-year-old is getting better every day at Children's Healthcare in Atlanta and they are touched by the tremendous support of their neighbors in Winder.
"The amount of love we received -- the thoughts, the prayers, the well wishes -- just everything, it's unreal," said Bill Halstead, Tripp's father.
DQ owner Brenda Walters said it makes her feel good and proud of her community to see the people coming in to help the Halstead family. She said they raised about $18,000 in sales, of which 20 percent will go to the medical bills to help Tripp Halstead.
Tripp's aunt said that the family appreciates all of the financial support as well as the fundraisers and anything in that area that is helping them, but they say that more than anything, they're asking for this community's prayers.
OTHER EVENTS AND FUNDRAISERS FOR TRIPP HALSTEAD *
Saturday -- Whata Cutie Cuts, 3480 Financial Center Way in Buford, will host a "Team Up for Tripp" fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 16 -- Community benefit concert featuring national Southern gospel artists at the Barrow County Leisure, 175 2nd St., Winder. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. for 6:30 p.m. concert featuring Crystal River, The Gobers, The Graham Family and ChoZen. Admission is free, but donations for the Halstead family with be accepted.
Nov. 17 -- The Winder Lions Club will host an event with a silent auction, concession stands, jump houses and game booths. All proceeds will benefit the Halsteads. The event take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lions Club, located at 354 E. Broad Street in Winder.
"Team Boom" T-shirts can be purchased at support-trip.org.
Donations can be made to the Tripp H. Halstead Fund at PNC Bank branches. Visit pnc.com for the nearest branch.
Donations can also be made via ChipIn through the PayPal link on the "Tripp Halstead Updates" Facebook page; and by visiting teamboom4tripp.com.
* Information provided by Gwinnett Daily Post