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Joshua Haileyesus, a 12-year-old Colorado boy, is said to have died on Saturday (April 10) after being put on life support after taking part in a dangerous TikTok challenge. Haileyesus was found unconscious on March 22 after choking himself during the "Blackout Challenge." He was on life support for 19 days before passing away.
Joshua's family has since established a GoFundMe page to assist with his hospital and funeral costs. “We would like to inform everyone that Joshua has gone to be with the Lord this evening, after fighting the good fight on life support for 19 days,” the crowdfunding page's summary reads.
“We thank everyone who has prayed tirelessly and shared our burden during this difficult time,” the page continues. “Your prayers and love have brought us comfort, and we appreciate your help.”
Haileyesus was discovered “breathless on the bathroom floor,” according to the page. Doctors intubated the boy and told his family that his chances of survival were "highly unlikely," according to FOX19 Now.
Joshua's father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told the news station, "[Doctors] 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 to give me some time, not to give up on him,” she said. I feel like I'm walking away from my son if I just give up on him.”
Last month, TikTok responded to the news by sending condolences to the boy and his family. According to the Associated Press, TikTok said, "At TikTok, we have no higher priority than ensuring the protection of our community, and content that encourages or glorifies risky behavior is strictly prohibited and promptly removed to prevent it from becoming a trend on our platform."
According to the GoFundMe website, the "Blackout Challenge" has "been around for years," but has recently gained heightened popularity due to TikTok's widespread use. During it, participants are encouraged to choke themselves before they pass out.
The family is now warning other parents about the potentially dangerous situation. They wrote on the website, "We are also worried for other families who, like ourselves, might be unaware of the nature of the Blackout Challenge and others like it." “We encourage the world to learn more about Joshua and the real dangers that come with not knowing what kinds of things children are interested in.”
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