High school student, 17, dies after collapsing during workout: 'She was a beautiful spirit'

A DeKalb high school dance team member died suddenly after collapsing mid-workout at school (Credit: GoFundMe)
A DeKalb high school dance team member died suddenly after collapsing mid-workout at school (Credit: GoFundMe)

A 17-year-old died unexpectedly after she collapsed while working out at school.

Student, Elyse Purefoy was a member of the dance team at Arabia Mountain High School in Atlanta, Ga., and was at summer training on Monday when she passed out on the track, mid-run. Channel 2 Action News reported that first responders rushed her to DeKalb Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Family members are uncertain of what led to her sudden and untimely death.

“Authorities are still investigating the cause and manner of her death,” Elyse’s father, Hank Purefoy, told Channel 2. “She was a beautiful spirit. We’re going to miss her.”

Her brother, Malik Purefoy, added that he thinks there were two possibilities that could be attributed to his sister’s death. “One was that it was severe dehydration,” he told Channel 2. "Another one is that she had a heart problem."

According to ABC News, the temperature was 84 degrees in the area on Monday, which was actually cooler than a “run of 12 straight 90-degree days in late May.”

Elyse’s family launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to field donations to help them in this difficult time, which has achieved its goal of $5,000.

“Today started just like any other day. I made you breakfast and lunch, and hugged you and told you to have fun at dance training. I smiled as I saw you and your brother get in the car to drive you to practice, but who could have known that you would not be coming home to us,” the fundraiser description reads. “The doctors did their best to bring you back but your heart just stopped working.”

Community members expressed their condolences on the GoFundMe page.

“My heart aches for the entire family,” one person commented. “So sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Praying that God will strengthen and comfort you during this difficult time,” added another.

In a statement provided to Yahoo Lifestyle, the DeKalb County School District said, “DCSD is working closely with the appropriate departments to assess the events of yesterday morning. Arabia Mountain High School counselors were on-site today, and additional DCSD grief counselors will be available tomorrow for anyone needing support during this time.The entire DeKalb County School District, and especially the Arabia Mountain High School family, mourns Elyse’s passing. Our hearts and thoughts are with the Purefoy family and all who knew and loved Elyse.”

According to Channel 2, Elyse’s family and friends are now looking at the positive impact she made. The 17-year-old had a 3.9 grade point average and served as the captain of the high school cheerleading squad.

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