JEFFERSON, Ga. – “I love you to the moon and back…”
It’s been five years since Stacy Halstead heard her little boy say those eight words to her.
Oct. 29, 2012 Stacy dropped off her 2-year-old son, Tripp Halstead, at a Winder, Ga. daycare and drove to work. But at 11 a.m., the phone rang.
“They said Tripp had an accident and I needed to come right there,” she recalled. “I didn’t even ask how bad it was. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Great, he broke his arm or leg,’ nothing tragic.”
As she drove back, another call.
Tripp was at the hospital.
He was knocked unconscious when a large branch broke from a tree and landed on his head.
Doctors told the parents that his brain had swollen, causing his body to shut down. They said Tripp may not survive. But, his support system was about to gain momentum.
Thousands of people began following Tripp's story, and in the next few months, the number of followers to Tripp Halstead Updates Facebook page grew into the hundreds of thousands, as he was released from the hospital and continued to show progress.
It’s a five-year journey, from near-death to now, that has captured the hearts of countless people around the world—all on Facebook.
The 7-year-old’s parents see a warrior every single day, showing the world how he is fighting back.
“That inner drive that he has is pushing him so hard to get better and better every day,” Bill Halstead, Tripp’s father, said.
Doctors back then told Bill and Stacy, of Jefferson, Ga., to say goodbye to Tripp. He would not survive.
But Tripp… he had his own medical opinion.
And, he has. Enduring multiple surgeries, thriving, and living... recovering at his own, steady pace.
“He doesn’t let it beat him, he fights back and he tries to get every little inch of whatever he lost, back, one step at a time,” Bill said.
Tripp goes to therapy once a week, practicing things like holding his head up on his own.
“We are so proud of him, it’s like night and day since the day of the accident until now,” Stacy said.
Stacy and Bill surround Tripp with noisy cousins and friends, and they take him to fun attractions kids love. Tripp reacts to sound, shows emotion and communicates as best he can.
Stacy’s journal on Facebook documenting all of Tripp’s ups and downs has, so far, 1.3 million followers around the world.
“People just say that they look at their own situations and they see how hard he tries, everyday, and what he’s gone through. And it makes them realize that they can do it, too. And they can make it through,” Stacy said.
Stacy and Bill see in their only child a life force who cannot speak, cannot walk--yet; making them, and all who know Tripp Halstead, better.
“Always try to look at the bright side and just celebrate the wins. No matter how few and far between they are, a win is a win,” Bill said.