An Arlington family is grieving the sudden loss of their son and brother. 14-year-old Chase Sayles collapsed Thursday after he had been playing basketball. Now his father is thanking the community for their support.
From day one, Ben Sayles knew there was something special about his son Chase.
"It's been a blessing the whole way," said Sayles. "He's been great for us since he was born."
Chase was born with a congenital heart defect. But he never let that stop him from exceling in life – particularly when it came to basketball.
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In 2014, Cook Children's Health System produced a video featuring his story. The then 12-year-old told them, "I don't think about my heart at all. You can do anything you want."
"He had goals, things he wanted to become, things he was pursuing," said Sayles. "We had just got into the recruiting process and some of the different things that go on with going to college."
That's been the toughest part for his family as they mourn his sudden death. Last Thursday, he was playing basketball at Barnett Junior High in Arlington and began complaining of chest pain. By the time the ambulance arrived, he was unresponsive.
"It's been hard," said Sayles. "We're a very close knit family. It's just five of us."
But he says the past few days it's felt like all of Arlington is part of their family, as a growing number people express their love and support.
One example – as of Tuesday afternoon, about 130 people had donated more than $8,000 to a special Go Fund Me Page set up for Sayles family.
"We didn't realize exactly how many people he had touched," said Sayles.
Sayles says seeing how much Chase was loved is helping them pull through.
"We thank everyone for everything they've done," said Sayles.
The Sayles family is asking anyone who knew Chase to come to Boles Junior High in Arlington (3900 SW Green Oaks Blvd), where Chase just finished 8th grade, Tuesday evening to sign a board and share any memories of him. That will run from 6:30pm – 8:00pm.
A close friend of Chase's will also be selling t-shirts he designed with one of Chase's favorite quotes for $20. All of the money raised will go directly to his family.
Chase's visitation will take place Friday morning starting at 9:00am at Spencer's Mortuary in Fort Worth (4000 Miller Ave). His funeral will take place at 11:00am Saturday at the Pilgrim Valley Church in Fort Worth.