The teen who died doing a social media challenge was given an emotional send off by hospital staff and family members as he was taken to surgery to have his organs donated.
Fifteen-year-old Mason Bogard of Evansville, Indiana, saved multiple lives with his final good deed last week, just days after he was critically injured in the “Choking Challenge.”
“There’s no question, we knew that’s what he would have wanted to do and would be proud to do it,” his dad, Steve Bogard, told InsideEdition.com.
His 24-year-old sister, Taylor Bogard, explained she had no idea that her younger brother had been interested in participating in the Choking Challenge until they found him unresponsive in his bedroom on May 1.
“He had tried challenges before, but nothing this extreme,” his mom Joann Bogard said. “Ice Bucket Challenge, things like that.”
While the Choking Challenge – where kids suffocate themselves until just before they fall unconscious as a dare or game among friends – has been around for decades, the trend has gained new steam online, and Mason had apparently been attempting to share his experience on social media when he critically injured himself. He was eventually declared brain dead days later.
“When we found out he was doing that, it was just heartbreaking to know that kids do that,” Joann said.
Steve continued, “That they can be pushed that far to try and accomplish something.”
Mason’s family said he was an extremely generous teen, and his organ donation was their way of continuing his legacy.
His family also started the hashtag #MasonsMessage, with which they encourage other parents to be vigilant about what their kids are participating in on social media, and urge other kids to look out for each other and make smart choices.
“Mason was one of those kids, I tried to stay ahead of him, I tried to stay on top of him but he was always two steps ahead of us because these kids these days are just so smart,” Joann said. “Don’t be afraid to parent. Don’t be afraid to say, 'Let me see what you’re putting on the internet.'”
For now, the family said they're still trying to cope with the loss of their son.
"We're just taking each day one step at a time. Baby steps," Steve said. "As someone had said, this is the new norm. I want my old norm back."