A TikTok challenge has once again ended in tragedy.
According to reports, a 12-year-old Colorado boy has been left brain dead after trying the “Blackout Challenge,” which saw him choking himself with a shoelace to see how long he could hold his breath.
The family of Joshua Haileyesus (pictured above) said he was found unconscious on the bathroom floor on March 22 by his twin brother, who tried to resuscitate him until help arrived. The family wrote in a GoFundMe page, which has already raised $144k:
“The game has actually been around for years and is sometimes known as the ‘Passout Challenge’, ‘The Game of Choking’, ‘Speed Dreaming’ or ‘The Fainting Game”, but it’s currently gaining traction on TikTok… Unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua had been playing this dangerous game completely unaware of the risks involved. He is currently being intubated and the doctors have said that his chance for survival is extremely unlikely.”
So incredibly devastating.
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While speaking to FOX19, Joshua’s father said doctors told them that the pre-teen is brain dead. He shared:
“Told me the bad news that he’s not going to survive, he’s not going to make it. I was begging them on the floor, pleading to see if they can give me some time, not to give up on him. If I just give up on him, I feel like I’m just walking away from my son.”
Although things aren’t looking good, the family is still holding out for a miracle. The father continued:
“He’s a fighter. I can see him fighting. I’m praying for him every day. It’s just heartbreaking to see him laying on the bed.”
Joshua’s father later spoke to The Denver Channel about the increasingly dangerous trend of social media challenges, saying:
“This is something that kids need to be given to be taught, to be counseled. Because this is a serious thing. It’s not a joke at all. And you can treat it as if somebody is holding a gun. This is how dangerous this is.”
He’s right: viral challenges have become a breeding ground for injuries and deaths.
Several injuries were reported from stunts like “skull-breaker challenge,” which sees two people sweep an unwitting third person’s legs from beneath them mid jump, and the “outlet challenge” which dares participants to touch a coin against the exposed prongs of a semi-inserted plug. Last year, an Oklahoma teenager died after reportedly partaking in the “Benadryl Challenge”, which dared participants to chug enough of the medicine to hallucinate.
Our hearts go out to Joshua’s family — and we hope this story makes people realize that the real winners are those who don’t start these absurd challenges.
Once again, if you’d like to learn more about the GoFundMe and donate — CLICK HERE.
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