When 17-year-old high school basketball player Rayvonte Ball collapsed on the court last month, his mother assumed he would soon be back on his feet.
But when Suzett Ball walked into her son’s Humber River Hospital room she said “reality kicked in and everything stopped.”
“His coach called me and said ‘Rayvonte collapsed but I don’t have much information yet, I’ll call you back.’ Then they called me and said he’s having seizures and EMS is on the way,” the homeless shelter support worker and single mother of three boys said Wednesday.
“I looked in and he was just lying there … my world just stopped. I didn’t know what to do.”
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The teenager was rushed to the Hospital for Sick Children unconscious after convulsing and foaming at the mouth March 25 and has been in critical care ever since.
Rayvonte, a rising star in the Toronto-area basketball community and captain of the Central Technical School team, was playing with a community centre team when he lost consciousness.
Suzett was informed he may suffer from a rare heart rhythm condition called Long QT syndrome, which can cause faster heartbeats and lead to seizures, black outs and can potentially be fatal.
She was told by doctors that due to the fact Rayvonte had been unconscious for upwards of 20 minutes, he could be suffering from severe brain damage.
“He has lost a lot of his functions, his abilities. So walking, talking, playing basketball — which is something he loved — may never happen again,” Suzett said.
“My days right now, it’s just day by day. Taking it minute by minute, just praying and hoping for a miracle and hoping that I’ll just go in his room one day and he’ll wake up and say ‘Hey mom.’
Suzett said she hasn’t been given a lot of “positive” news by doctors, but she is thankful for everything they’ve done for her son.
“I appreciate everything but right now it’s just in the hands of God,” she said.
“They’ve done what they can for him and I don’t think they can do much more, at least from what they say. Right now it’s just waiting.”
As Suzett struggles to cope with the news, friends and loved ones of Rayvonte’s rallied around him for support. They’ve since launched a GoFundMe online fundraising campaign to raise money for the family and Rayvonte’s future treatments — with a goal of $100,000.
“The support that I’ve gotten from his friends, his teachers, people he works with and the fact that these kids at school came up with this idea to help because they’ve seen me here at the hospital day in day out … it’s something I didn’t know anything about,” she said.
“They came up to me and they’re like ‘OK we’re starting this page and it’s something to help you and the family.'”
Suzett said she’s the “worst person to accept help” and doesn’t even know how to respond to the generosity.
“And these kids have been here every day. The students have been here every day after school. They come, they visit, they stay till late and you know they just go and talk with him and just try to make sure that he’s still aware of what’s going on,” she said.
“I believe that somewhere in there he can hear us, you know I just think he’s trapped somewhere right now. He’s trying to make his way back to us but it’s just the waiting part that’s the hardest right now.”
Suzett said she wishes she could trade places with her son, but knows she can’t do anything for him right now except wait for him to wake up.
“I don’t know how I’ll ever thank everyone for all that they’ve been doing and what they continue to do and everyone that’s been praying all over for him for a recovery,” she said.
“That’s all I do, day in and day out. I stay here every day. I’m always here.”