A mother is left heartbroken and confused after her son, a freshman athlete and stellar student at Desert Vista High School, suddenly became sick and passed away.
"It's just an unbearable pain," Carolynn White said of her son's death. "You feel like a part of your heart’s been taken."
White said her son Chase White had flu-like symptoms for about three months. She said Chase's symptoms would come and go, and his condition would improve and then worsen.
It was like a never ending rollercoaster for a 14-year-old boy who had never suffered from any serious health problems before.
"He was okay when he was in the house as soon as we got outside he just got weaker and weaker," she said.
She took Chase to several doctors to try to figure out why her son was all of a sudden feeling so sick and for so long, but doctors couldn't confirm what the teen had.
"We’d been to several doctors, had blood, urine taken several times," she said. "No one could find out what was wrong, he just wouldn’t get better."
She had her suspicions that her son could have Valley Fever, based on his symptoms, so she set up a meeting with a specialist in hopes of figuring out the cause. His scheduled appointment was upcoming.
White said on Wednesday the 23rd, Chase tried to go to school but fell ill again. On Thursday, he still wasn't feeling well. On Friday around 4 a.m., the woman was checking up on Chase’s younger brother who had an ear ache and also went to check up on Chase. She felt he was cold, and he wasn’t responding.
“I can’t seem to get over the coldness of his face, hugging him," she said. "Not getting a reaction, that’s the hardest thing.”
White and her husband, Antone White, took the boy to an emergency room where doctors pronounced Chase as brain dead. Hospital doctors couldn't pin point what caused his death. They couldn't confirm whether it was Valley Fever, and doctors told her they may never know what caused Chase’s illness and death.
"We were planning college, sending out letters," Antone White, Chase's father, said. "Now we’re planning a funeral, just something a parent should never experience."
Chase's funeral services will be held on April 2 at Mountain Park Community Church (2408 E. Pecos Road) at noon. The White family says anyone is invited to attend.
The Tempe Union High School District told ABC15 counselors will be at Desert Vista on Monday to help students cope.