WORCESTER, Mass. - Harris Wolobah died on Friday, and while the official cause of death for the 14-year-old is pending an autopsy, his family wrote on a GoFundMe page they suspect the cause was complications caused by the “One Chip Challenge,” which involves eating a chip made with some of the spiciest peppers in the world.
"No one prepares for these kind of situations," Doug Hill said. "So, you hear a 14-year-old kid dying from something like a challenge that you see on TikTok, it scares me because...I'm a father, I have kids myself that I am looking after and I'm raising."
What You Need To Know
- Harris Wolobah, 14, died on Friday, Sept. 1
- His family suspects his death was caused from complications caused by doing the "one chip challenge" earlier on Friday, pending an autopsy
- Harris was a 10th grader at Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester
- Blueprint Basketball is hosting a fundraiser workout in honor of Harris on Saturday, Sept. 9
Hill was a coach and mentor to Harris in the sport he loved - basketball.
"Harris is an amazing kid," Hill said. "When I first met him, [he was] very reserved, very quiet. And then he got comfortable. And I also felt like basketball was a safe place for him. He can come here. He could be who we wanted to be. Just an amazing person, all in all."
At about 4:30 p.m. on Friday, September 1, Worcester police, paramedics, and fire personnel responded to a medical call involving the 14-year-old at a Worcester residence. Police say he was found unresponsive and wasn't breathing. Wolobah was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. The medical examiner is now investigating.
Harris’ former basketball team is coming together to honor him with a fundraiser.
"We're going to host a workout and those workouts are going to be broken down by grades and those grades are going to be able to come in," Hill said. "And number one, honor exactly who Harris is. He's a person who loved the game of basketball, was passionate, and was just a really good person and he worked hard. So we're going to make sure that we get these guys in here working hard in his honor, and we're just going to be able to raise that money and hopefully just be able to provide the family with some more additional funds so they can just take care of whatever costs be coming their way."
"Whenever you hear of a young person dying in the community, it makes you stop and pause," Fr. Jonathan Slavinskas said. "You know, it's not just those immediate students that he's with within the school system at Doherty there. Because this gym is a gym for everyone so you know there is going to be students from all different schools who are hurting. You know his parents are going to be going through a great grief right now that is unimaginable. And you know the students along with the teachers are going to be suffering and the administration, everyone in the city. The ache of the heart just cries out right now."
The workout honoring Harris will be in the gym at Saint Bernard’s Church on Lincoln Street in Worcester on Saturday, Sept. 9.
The superintendent confirms Worcester Public Schools is also offering counseling and social emotional support for those who have been impacted by this tragedy.