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Third-grader dies days after stroke

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By Shannon Brock

Gabe Adkins, an 8-year-old student at Robert B. Turner Elementary School, died March 19 following a massive stroke March 10, said Lynne Gritton, Turner's school counselor.

Gabe was a son of Monica and P.J. Matney of Lawrenceburg, and Phillip Ray Adkins of Mount Sterling. He was in Lori Wells' third-grade class.

"He had been sick for four or five days before March 10," Gritton said. "But we don't really know what with."

Gritton said Gabe's parents took him to the emergency room at Frankfort Regional Medical Center on March 10, and an X-ray showed he had an enlarged heart with blood clots.

He was transported to the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital, where he had the stroke, Gritton said.

Gabe didn't regain consciousness and died nine days later, she said.

"We're devastated," Gritton said.

Grief counselors came to the school March 19 and worked with Gabe's classmates in Wells' class. The counselors returned Thursday and worked with any other of the school's students who needed to talk, Gritton said.

The school has been taking donations for Gabe's family since March 10, and in the first day collected $2,000 from students and faculty, Gritton said.

"Since then, we've collected $2,000 more from parents and community members," she said. "The outpouring from the community has been tremendous."

Students at the school have been making cards for the family and Gabe's class put together a memory book, Gritton said.

"They also made a poster with Gabe in the middle and their handprints all around him," she said.

The class also is having a bake sale from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Wal-Mart as a fundraiser for the family.

The school plans to plant a tree in Gabe's memory and also will purchase a plaque to hang in the lobby, Gritton said.

The school is continuing to take donations through its "Spare Change Friday" jars in the front office. Community members wishing to donate to the family can take the donations to Century Bank.

"Earmark checks to P.J. Matney," Gritton said. "That's the family account."

Gabe's funeral was Saturday at Lawrenceburg United Pentecostal Church.

According to his mother, he wanted to be a preacher and a carpenter when he grew up, Gritton said. "He loved the Lord," she said. "He had a strong faith."

Gritton said Gabe was new to Turner this year and previously attended Saffell Street Elementary School.

"He was a quiet little boy," she said. "He got along well with his classmates. He was a hard worker, and just a good student to have in the classroom."