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Choking game makes front page of New York Times

The "choking game" made the front page of today's New York Times. It's about time.

As most of you probably know, my cousin likely died this way last March, two days after his bar mitzvah and a day after the dedication of a sefer Torah in my grandfather's memory. I've been thinking of him lately, since it was just about a year ago that he died. In early March, I realized that his yahrzeit must be coming up, but I avoided looking up the exact (Gregorian calendar) date because it was just easier, less painful somehow, not to, and then I realized that it must have passed. After I read the article in this morning's New York Times, I felt I had no choice but to look up his yahrzeit. Indeed, his first yahrzeit was Shabbat, March 17, Shabbat HaChodesh, the 27th of the month of Adar.1 I feel bad that I didn't at least try and commemorate my cousin's life on that day. I wonder what his father, mother, and sister did on that day. I wonder what my grandmother, who is also his grandmother, did.

I don't really have much to say about my cousin's life, death, or the choking game. I said everything I had to say last year. It's still all so sad, and nothing ever stops making it sad. The only thing that has changed is that I think about him, my cousin David, much less than I did a year ago. That, too, is sad.

The only hope (and it's hard to call this a hope) in this agonizing mess is to educate oneself and others, especially kids between the ages of 9 and 17, about the choking game and the fact that it can kill you. Or, rather, as the NYT article advises, quoting Dr. Macnab, a professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia:
Mentioning specific, narrow risks from the game, he said, like brain damage, medication and physical disfigurement can be even more powerful disincentives to adolescents than the idea of dying, which can seem theoretical or abstract.

1. David's second yahrzeit will be on April 3, because of Adar Sheini.

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My 16 year old son also died from this "game" and am thankful too more awareness is being brought about. I am sorry for the loss in your family.

I remember when I first read of David on your blog, last year. You are correct in saying "that it is sad".... It is a saddness, a sorrow so deeply felt, that it is hard to articulate the extremeness of it. There can be no 'good' way to lose a child. This deadly activity is on that has that has been KILLING kids (adults too .. AeA) for YEARS (Shakspere made refrence to it, AeA in one of his works) and that society has been ignorant of. I for one am grateful that you post about your cousin David, and what killed him. In a way, David still has a voice, people learn of him and HEAR what it is that ended his life when they read your blog.
There are educational and informational resources available online, most of them free.
Since losing one of my 13 year old twin boys on May 6, 2005, over 145 children have since fallen victim to it. Please visit http://GASPinfo.com and sign our D.A.R.E. petition; check the GASP Info (Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play) site out; It is extremely informative and also personal,as links, photos and stories of other victims can be viewed. We desperately need people to sign this petition, to have it recognized by ALL D.A.R.E. branches.
Ignorance is not bliss...
Sarah Pacatte, Gabriel Mordecai's Mom http://StillLovingMyGabriel.com
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