Wednesday, March 7, 2012

From Newmarket to Melksham, One Person Can (and, does!) Make a Difference

Maybe I should just start using the wifi at home.  That way, I can keep my emotions private.  Reading this story brought tears.  Happy tears.  Sad tears.

Thank the God of your understanding for today's online social network.  It's saving lives!  Across the ocean, in a place called Melksham, in the United Kingdom, sat a forlorn 16-year-old named Luke.  Luke, seemingly, was ready to throw in the towel.  He told the world of his plans on his tumblr account.  Pills.  He had already taken a handful and was prepared to take more.  He wanted to die.

Incredibly, according to Luke, in response to his desperate cry for help, he received lots of "hate" comments and, worse, other teens encouraging him to "go ahead and do it".  Already clearly despondent, this only served to make matters worse.  Who's raising these kids!?  We just are not born with that level of hatred.  It's taught, and learned.  Luckily, however, one compassionate teen was struck by the plea and took action.  From over 3,000 miles and an ocean away!

Fourteen-year-old Paige Dayal, from Newmarket, Canada, was deeply troubled by what she had read and was moved to action.  I know from personal experience that attempting to reach out to someone in another country is cumbersome, at best.  Sometimes, it's downright maddening.  Paige persisted.  Running into roadblock after roadblock only strengthened her determination.  "What if he's really going to try and hurt himself" was her thought process.  And, that's the only thought process to have in a situation like this.

Eventually, she was able to contact a police department near where young Luke lived.  They arrived at his door in time, and the story had a happy ending.  Luke was taken to the hospital and is apparently doing fine now.  Once at the hospital, he pulled up his tumblr account once again, this time to "thank the girl in Canada" who potentially saved his life.

According to the news release I read, Paige has never been the victim of bullying.  However, like any person of compassion around the world, she realizes what going on today with the issue and how lives are being lost because of it.  Knowing that teen suicide is a real issue today, she understood that she had to take action on behalf of a boy she didn't know from a country over 3,000 miles, and a whole lot of water!, away.

With the exception of the incredibly insensitive, inhumane, cruelty he received as a response to his cry for help, it appears that bullying wasn't the issue with Luke, either.  It was depression.  A depression so deep that he wanted to die.  A depression that his own mother and father didn't even know was there.  They know about it now.  Luke is getting the help he desperately needs.  And, thankfully, all medications are now kept locked away.

What this shows concretely is that one person absolutely can make a difference.  One person caring about another human being, whether we know them or not, whether their in our circle of friends or an ocean away, can save a life.  We never know when we will run across that situation in our own lives.  But, chances are, if we all pay attention closely enough, at some point we all will.   Paige made a difference.  Luke's alive to thank her for it.  It doesn't get better than that.

So, instead of having to be the bearer of yet another heartbreaking story of one more teen who ended their life before it had a chance to develop, I get to write another happy-ending story.  I love those.

On second thought, I'll keep going to my local diner with the wifi hotspot.  People need to see how real this truly is.


  1. what a great story. If only more teens and adults would do reach out to help someone that is hurting then maybe we wouldn't have so much despair in the world. A big hug for Paige.

  2. It's really great to hear that Paige really helped this guy :) It's especially amazing to hear that she was that nice without being in the same boat. Some really extraordinary friendships form on the internet.

    Those people encouraging him to kill himself should take a long hard look in the mirror and then go and find a therapist to help them work out whatever issues made them into such heartless and cruel people. Maybe they're people who don't realise how hurtful stuff said over the internet can be, or that people who are already despondent are going to take stuff like that literally. If they do realise, then they are truly heartless.

    I think part of the problem with people not responding to intentions of suicide posted on the internet is that you get a lot of young people who make up false threats suicide and post them on the internet for attention, or as part of an online hissy-fit and I don't think they realise how much of an irresponsible "crying wolf" doing that is - if they ever do feel that depressed then nobody will take them seriously, and they make it harder for teenagers who really are in such a dark place to be taken seriously, too. I'm not talking about the people who talk about it online in a "cry for help" sense, but the people who make up complete fabricated issues for attention or emotional vengeance. I think some of them think that as it's the internet and they're hiding behind a screen name that it's OK to make stuff up or that nobody really gets hurt, but real people read what they write.

    When I was a teenager the internet was not quite as prevalent as it is now (late '90s, 2000s'), but even then when I was genuinely seeking help I was faced with "she's doing it for attention" and "all teenagers are angsty, it's just a phaze" and was not taken seriously. I was even accused of deliberately pretending to be depressed to upset my Dad. When people make stuff up on the internet and in real life it really does hurt those who are not making it up.