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.