12-Year-Old Boy Brain Dead After Trying TikTok Choking Challenge
Joshua Haileyesus was found unconscious in a bathroom on March 22.
A 12-year-old Colorado boy is in critical condition after reportedly trying a viral challenge on TikTok that encourages participants to choke themselves until they pass out.
Joshua Haileyesus was found breathless on the bathroom floor by his twin brother on March 22, according to a GoFundMe set up for the family. His brother tried to resuscitate him until neighbors and the ambulance arrived.
The 12-year-old's parents believe he was taking part in the "Blackout Challenge" on TikTok that dares people to see how long they can hold their breath.
"Joshua had been playing this dangerous game completely unaware of the risks involved," the family said, People reported.
Joshua's father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told CBS Denver said doctors told him shortly after the incident that Joshua would not survive the ordeal.
"I couldn't take it there, I was on the floor, I was crying," Zeryihun said. "It was just heartbreaking to see him, laying on the bed."
The family said they hope to raise awareness about the online challenge to hopefully spare other parents from a similar experience.
"Our family is devastated beyond belief by Joshua's circumstance. We are saddened that someone who has a future as promising as Joshua is in such a critical and life-threatening situation at the moment," they wrote on GoFundMe. "We are also concerned for other families who like ourselves, may not be aware of the existence of the Blackout Challenge and others like it."
The donation page has raised more than $158,000 as of Thursday.
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