In a heartbreaking plea to end online bullying, grieving father Adrian Derbyshire shared photos of the last moments he shared with his deceased teen daughter.
Minutes before 42-year-old Derbyshire’s daughter Julia, 16, was taken off life support, he snapped pictures of her lying lifeless on a hospital bed attached to tubes and machines that were keeping her breathing.
Derbyshire, a two-time Paralympic gold medalist, found his young daughter collapsed at their home in Warrington, England, after she attempted to hang herself as a result of being relentlessly bullied online, Metro reports.
Julia’s tragic death occurred back in 2015, but Derbyshire has just recently brought himself to share the photos in an effort to raise awareness around the anti-online bullying campaign he started in his daughter’s honor called #SASSY, which stands for "Support against Self-harm and Suicide in Youth."
“Releasing these photos was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life,” Derbyshire said.
“I took the photos in the minutes before Julia’s death and buried them on my phone until now because I didn’t want to look at them and I still don’t,” he continued. “But I knew that I was going to need them, obviously to help raise awareness, because I think that the cause is too vital to not use them.”
Derbyshire has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a near fatal brain hemorrhage back in 2008. He reportedly tried to involve his daughter in his Belief Succeed campaign that uses sports to help children, alas, her personal turmoil was greater than he realized.
The photos forced Derbyshire to relive his child’s death, which took an emotional toll on him.
“Seeing the photos raised emotions back to that time and made me feel physically sick,” he said. “But if it can help a parent or a family not to go through what I have been through then that is what the campaign is all about.”
Derbyshire also noted how supportive people have been following the release of the pictures.
“The response has been very overwhelming — I have had messages from families who have lost their teenagers and children and they have thanked [me] for releasing the photos,” he said. “It also shows just how desperate the issue is and how needed the campaigns that I do are.”
Derbyshire could be spending his days wallowing in sadness and grief — and no one would likely blame him for doing so after experiencing such a tragic loss. But instead, he’s turning his heartbreak into a humanitarian effort, which requires an admirable level of strength and courage that would make any daughter proud.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Suzanne Barlyn