June 13, 2019
Friends and family are mourning the death of a Georgia cheerleader who died on Monday, June 10 after collapsing during the dance team summer workout at school.
Until her death, 17-year-old Elyse Purefoy was an exceptional student, excelling in academics and serving as the captain of the cheerleading squad at Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Georgia.
Elyse Purefoy. | Photo: YouTube/CBS46 Atlanta
According to 11Alive, Elyse’s brother, Malik, drove her to practice around 7:00 am that Monday morning. Malik said he noticed his sister was tired and appeared grumpy but thought nothing of it since it was so early in the morning.
Then, while running laps with the rest of the dance team on the school’s track later that morning, Elyse passed out, reports USA Today. She was rushed to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Malik told 11Alive that was not the first time Elyse would pass out during practice and that he didn’t believe she had any pre-existing medical conditions, but the late teenager’s father, Hank Purefoy, suspects his daughter was extremely dehydrated, per CBS46.
Some of Elyse’s teammates said the late cheerleader asked her coach for water several times during the workout session and was denied, but officials at the DeKalb County School District declined to comment on the claims.
'Like they said, she had all the accolades. She worked very hard this year; she outworked everybody'
“Our hearts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” the district said while confirming Elyse’s death in a statement to The New York Post.
CBS46 reports that friends and relatives of the high-flying senior held a vigil in her honor outside the family’s Stone Mountain home on Monday.
“Just last night I was helping her, I was helping her practice her stands for dance,” sister Elona Purefoy told the station in tears. “Now she’s gone.”
Hank also told WSB-TV, according to Epoch Times, that his daughter was a hard worker:
“Elyse was just very determined, hardworking; she was a 3.9 [GPA] student. Like they said, she had all the accolades. She worked very hard this year; she outworked everybody.”
Elyse’s cause of death is yet to be announced.
In a GoFundMe page set up by the family to cover funeral costs, they describe Elyse as “a beautiful spirit.”
“Thank you to everyone who has called, prayed, and shown support during our time of bereavement,” they added. “There are no words to describe the hurt and loss we feel.”
Our prayers are with the entire Purefoy family as they deal with this tremendous loss.
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