A 12-year-old Colorado boy was left brain dead after accepting the viral TikTok 'Blackout Challenge', according to reports. Joshua Haileyesus accepted the deadly challenge that dares people to choke themselves until they lose consciousness but was pronounced brain dead by doctors after he used a shoelace to choke himself.
According to doctors, his condition remains critical and they have told his family that he may not live long, Fox 19 reported. The teen's family since has started a GoFundMe for his treatment but has at the same time been warning others about the dangers that social media platforms can hold when "challenges" like this start trending.
Game of Death
Haileyesus, who was first found out by his twin brother, had passed out on their bathroom floor on March 22, KCNC in Denver reported. Haileyesus had apparently used a shoelace after accepting and attempting the 'Blackout Challenge' on TikTok, which as part of the challenge requires people to choke themselves to the point of losing consciousness.
He was immediately rushed to hospital but doctors pronounced him brain dead. "He's a fighter. I can see him fighting. I'm praying for him every day," said Joshua's father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, according to the outlet.
Even worse, doctors told the family that Joshua will not recover and it's just a matter of time that he breathes his alst, according to the report. "It's just heartbreaking to see him laying on the bed," the father said. "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."
Blame it on Social Media
However, the boy's family still hasn't given up hope. They gathered with friends and neighbors on Monday night to pray for the boy, according to a report on The Denver Channel. "I can't even describe the grief and devastation, family friend Hirut Yitayew told the news outlet. "Nobody could ever imagine this would happen to a 12-year-old," a family friend told the outlet.
The family has also started a GoFundMe for Haileyesus but at the same time is also warning others about the dangers that social media platforms can hold when fatal "challenges" like this start trending. Haileyesus' parents said that he would often use 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.
"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 outlet. "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.