12 Year-Old Who Died Suddenly To Be Remembered During Candlelight Vigil

Family, friends and classmates of a Selma Middle School 7th grader will gather for a Candlelight Vigil to remember his life cut tragically short.

Gavin Ellsworth was a typical 12 year-old boy.  He moved from New York to Selma four years ago.  He enjoyed playing on the Yellow Jackets football team, baseball and basketball.

His god mother, Katelyn Rogers, said Gavin enjoyed playing board games with his family, playing video games and watching videos on YouTube.

On Sunday afternoon, Gavin decided he didn’t want to participate in an Easter Egg hunt saying he was too grown up.  That evening he ate supper and spent time with his aunt and cousin who had driven down from Virginia Beach, Virginia to visit.

Around 3:00am Monday, Katelyn said Gavin woke up with pain in both ears.  He was taken to Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield where a doctor said he had a double ear infection.  He was given medication and send back home.

Monday was a typical day for Gavin.  He went to bed Monday night asking for a hot water bottle because of an ear ache. About 15 minutes later Katelyn went to check on him and found him facedown in bed not breathing.  She immediately turned Gavin over and started CPR.  He never regained consciousness again.

Johnston County EMS paramedics rushed Gavin to Johnston Medical Center before being transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.  He had suffered a massive aneurysm near his brain stem.  Doctors conducted numerous tests before performing emergency surgery on Gavin to try and relieve pressure from the brain, but it was too late. He had already sustained permanent and irreversible brain damage.  At 11:35pm Wednesday doctors said Gavin no longer had any brain activity.

“Gavin loved others. He would do anything to make anyone smile,” Katelyn said fighting back tears. “He was a good boy. He was an angel.”

His god parents and grandmother, Shirley Alabanese, made the decision to donate Gavin’s organs to others in need.  Katelyn said Gavin would have wanted it that way.  Doctors said he will now help numerous people in need of an organ transplant.

It will take 7 to 10 days before Gavin’s body is returned to his family. He will be cremated.  The family has not yet established a fund to pay for the cost of the cremation.   For now they just want to remember Gavin and the big impact he made in the 12 short years of his life.

A Candlelight Memorial Service had been scheduled for 7:30pm Saturday at Brack Wilson Park in Selma. Because of the threat of rain, the memorial has been moved indoors to the Richard B. Harrison Gymnasium at 601 W. Noble Street in Selma.

“He loved everyone so much,” Kateyln said. “Anyone who met him would tell you that.”

Those attending the Candlelight vigil are encouraged to wear black and gold and bring a candle.