A Denver boy is clinging to life after participating in the viral online challenge known as the “Blackout Challenge.” The challenge dares participants to choke themselves until they lose consciousness. It’s sometimes referred to as the “Passout Challenge,” “The Game of Choking,” “Speed Dreaming,” or “The Fainting Game,” and is popular on TikTok.
12-year-old Joshua Haileyesus‘ twin brother found him unconscious on the floor in the bathroom of their home on March 22, according to PEOPLE. His brother tried to resuscitate him until neighbors and the ambulance arrived.
“He is currently being intubated, and the doctors have said that his chance for survival is extremely unlikely,” a GoFundMe for Haileyesus said. Doctors explained to the boy’s father last Monday that they do not believe he will survive.
“Told me the bad news that he’s not going to survive, he’s not going to make it, I couldn’t imagine,” his father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told a local CBS affiliate. “I was begging them, on the floor, pleading to see if they can give me some time, not to give up on him, not to give up on him.”
The family believes the boy was “completely unaware of the risks involved” and wants to educate people about the challenge’s dangers.
“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,” they wrote on the online fundraiser, “but to ensure that nothing like this happens to anyone else. 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.”
The GoFundMe has raised more than $150,000 toward its goal of $200,000 as of Wednesday.