Social media challenges may seem harmless, but that isn’t always the case.
In Massachusetts, a Black teen died after taking part in a social media challenge called the “One Chip Challenge.”
According to Boston 25 News, on Friday, 14-year-old Harris Wolobah went to the nurse’s office at Doherty Memorial High School after eating an extremely spicy chip that contained some of the hottest peppers in the world. Harris told the nurse he felt sick and his parents picked him up from school and took him home. Harris would later pass away in his Worcester home with paramedics at the scene, according to police.
A GoFundMe page for Harris Wolobah was created by the family to help with funeral expenses for his parents and siblings.
“On September 1, my aunt Lois’ youngest son, Harris, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 14 from what we suspect to be complications due to the ‘one chip challenge’ (autopsy pending),” the family wrote. “The pain our family is experiencing is unimaginable. Harris was a light that lit up the room with his presence and subtle charm. He was an intelligent, quirky and incredibly talented young man who loved video games and playing basketball!”
The family also said funeral arrangements will be made in the next few weeks.
“Our family is planning to lay Harris to rest in the coming weeks, so I’m hoping that with the help of this compassionate community, we can raise enough funds to alleviate the burden of funeral expenses for his parents and siblings during this incredibly difficult time.”
According to police, there is no official cause of death yet, but they did confirm Harris Wolobah ate a Paqui 2023 Carolina Reaper + Naga Viper Pepper Chip earlier that day, which contains two of the hottest peppers in the world.
What is the “One Chip Challenge?”
The “one chip challenge” is a social media challenge that requires the participant to eat a chip claiming to be “the spiciest chip in the world,” while on camera. The challenge is very popular on social platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
According to the Nation Capitol Poison Center, the Paqui Chip, which is generally used for the challenge contains capsaicin, a compound found naturally in chili peppers.
Capsaicin consumption usually causes mouth and throat pain, but in some cases can result in more serious health problems including heart attack and esophageal damage.
Health officials have also warned about the chip’s side effects which include severe coughing, asthma, serious burning of the eyes and mouth, and vomiting.
There is also a warning on Paqui’s website about the chip that says, “Do not eat if you are sensitive to spicy foods, allergic to peppers, night shades, or capsaicin, or are pregnant or have any medical conditions.”
From Boston 25 News:
Worcester Schools Superintendent Rachel Monarrez released the following statement:
“It is with a heavy heart I share that we lost a rising star, Harris Wolobah, who was a sophomore scholar at Doherty Memorial High School. As a mother and educator, I cannot imagine how hard this is on his family, friends and teachers. My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him.
“Worcester Public Schools is offering counseling and social emotional support for those who have been impacted by this tragedy. If you are a WPS student or staff member in need of grief support, please let a caring adult know at your school. We are here to help. “It is during the most trying times that the community of Worcester comes together and this is one of those times. May we stay focused on allowing the grief and healing process during this difficult time.”
Click here if you would like to donate to Harris Wolobah’s GoFundMe.