LAWRENCEVILLE -- A 15-year-old Lawrenceville boy died after eating a cookie that unknowingly had traces of peanut inside.
Jharell Dillard, a junior at Central Gwinnett High School, was outside a Loganville Walmart on Wednesday evening when his aunt handed him a chocolate chip cookie, Pastor Neil Reid of Stone Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church said in a statement.
Dillard, usually "meticulously careful" with his peanut allergy, ate the cookie that had some sort of peanut-based ingredient. Within minutes, he entered anaphylactic shock and swelling in his throat restricted his ability to breathe.
He was rushed to Egleston Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 7 p.m., Reid said.
Family spokesman Roland Pinder said Dillard dreamt of being an NBA player and planned to try out for Central Gwinnett's varsity basketball team this fall.
"If I had to pick whatever materials I needed to put together a person that exemplified Christian virtue, a good role model, but not someone that craved or demanded a spotlight, not once sought for himself but helped other people," Pinder said, "that's Jharell."
Parents Charles and Veronica Dillard, Reid said, donated Jharell's organs "to benefit individuals in need of a second chance at life."
Pinder was not sure how the fatal mistake was made, or if the 15-year-old, typically vigilant about monitoring labels, read the cookie's packaging. He said the family was considering having the snacks analyzed.
In the meantime, he said, the family is taking Jharell's death hard.
"One day at a time, and it's getting a little better for them," Pinder said. "Something like that is so unexpected. Two days ago this time they were together at a shopping mall."
Funeral arrangements have not been finalized, but service will be held at Stone Mountain Seventh-day Adventist Church, Reid said.