Joshua Haileyesus Aurora, Colorado boy, 12, brain dead after trying TikTok chocking blackout challenge. The family is praying for a miracle.
Joshua Haileyesus‘s twin brother found him unconscious in the family’s Aurora bathroom March 22. The family, which originally hails from Ethiopia, thinks he was trying to choke himself with a shoelace, possibly as part of a challenge to see how long he could hold his breath.
Doctors have told the family Joshua is brain dead and that they need to prepare to say goodbye.
‘Told me the bad news that he’s not going to survive, he’s not going to make it,’ Joshua’s father, Haileyesus Zeryihun told fox19. ‘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.’
Joshua’s father says that a few days before he was found, Joshua bragged to his brother he was able to hold his breath for a minute. The family hopes their story will inspire others to talk about any potential games out there that could seriously hurt another child.
I hate for other parents to go through this,’
‘I’m paying the price right now. I’m living the life, and I hate for other parents to go through this,’ Zeryihun said.
On Monday night, several dozen friends, relatives and neighbors gathered at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora to pray for Joshua who is now on life support.
Joshua’s parents said the boy has often used social media, which has helped him learn and gain connections to new passions such as cooking, guitar and acting. He was exposed to the positive aspects of social media and technology, but also was exposed to their dangers, they said.
‘This is something that kids need to be given to be taught — to be counseled. Because this is a serious a serious thing,’ his father told The Denver Channel.
Seeking euphoria- but at what cost?
‘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 added.
The “blackout challenge” has been around for years, daring participants to endure choking to the point of passing out in order to gain a sense of euphoria. Earlier this year, a 10-year-old girl from Italy died after participating in the challenge, strangling herself with a belt.
The dangerous challenge is gaining popularity on TikTok. The challenge also goes by the names, ‘passout challenge,’ ‘the game of choking,’ or ‘speed dreaming.’
Friends of Joshua’s family have created a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills.