The family of a 12-year-old boy in Colorado is praying for a medical breakthrough for their son who is in critical condition after attempting a dangerous TikTok challenge.
What are the details?
Joshua Haileyesus was found passed out on the bathroom floor by his twin brother on March 22 after allegedly using a shoelace to attempt the "blackout challenge," a popular social media trend that involves choking oneself until loss of consciousness, KCNC-TV reported.
The boy was reportedly rushed to the hospital, but doctors have since told the family that he is brain-dead and will not recover. Now his parents are begging for more time.
"He's a fighter. I can see him fighting. I'm praying for him every day," Joshua's father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, said, according to the news outlet. "It's just heartbreaking to see him laying on the bed."
"[They] told me the bad news that he's not going to survive, he's not going to make it," the father added. "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."
12-Year-Old Joshua Haileyesus In Critical Condition After Trying 'Blackout Challenge' youtu.be
A family friend told KMGH-TV that he "can't even describe the grief and the devastation. Nobody could ever imagine this would happen to a 12-year-old."
Dozens of family and friends reportedly gathered at Children's Hospital Colorado on Monday night to pray for Joshua, who has been described as a joyful 12-year-old boy who loves soccer and video games, but who also has a passion for the Army and aspirations to become a pastor.
The boy's family recalled that he used social media frequently and experienced the positive side of it. They noted it helped him discover new passions for things like cooking, guitar, and acting. But now they are warning others about the dangerous side of social media, as well.
"This is something that kids need to be given to be taught, to be counseled. Because this is a serious a serious thing," Zeryihun said. "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."
"I want others to see what I'm going through, learn for their children," he added.