A 12-year-old boy from Colorado is in critical condition after he was discovered unconscious following what his family believes was an attempt at a viral TikTok challenge.
People reports that 12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus was found lying on the bathroom floor of his family’s home by his twin brother on March 22. His parents have indicated that he was taking part in a challenge, which has sometimes been dubbed the “Choking Challenge,” the “Blackout Challenge,” “Space Monkey,” or the “Pass-out Challenge.” His family confirmed that he has since been taken to a hospital, and doctors say his chance for survival is “extremely unlikely.”
This isn’t the first time such a challenge has caused concerns among parents, with the CDC reporting in 2008 that there were at least 82 deaths attributed to participation in similar challenges throughout the year prior. In an interview with CBS Denver, the boy’s father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, said that he hopes to warn other parents about these deadly challenges. “I would never imagine my son would do such a thing,” he said.
"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,” said the family on a GoFundMe page that seeks funds to help support his expensive hospital bills.
“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. We are desperate not only to bring Joshua home, but to ensure that nothing like this happens to anyone else,” the family added. “We urge the community to spend awareness about Joshua and the real risks involved in not having knowledge of what kinds of activities children are involved in."
Contribute to the GoFundMe page here.