Australia’s Ally Langdon couldn’t hide the sadness bubbling inside when she spoke with a mom and dad, who were forced into the painful decision of taking the life of the young girl whom they had given life to only 13 years before.
The young girl died after falling prey to a viral craze called chroming, and Langdon, also a mom, struggled to hold back her tears.
Appearing on A Current Affair with host Ally Langdon, Andrea and Paul Haynes shared their story of how their 13-year-old daughter Esra Haynes died after following a social media trend called chroming, that involves inhaling toxic chemicals through the mouth or nose to get high.
Referred to as “determined, fun, cheeky and talented” by the Montrose Football Netball Club that she co-captained, Esra was a young athlete who raced BMX bikes with her brothers, and led her team to a national aerobics’ championship in Queensland.
On March 31, Esra went to a friend’s home for a sleepover and, for what would be a fatal high, she sniffed a can of aerosol deodorant and went into cardiac arrest, sustaining irreparable brain damage.
“It was just the regular routine of going to hang out with her mates,” her mom Andrea, told Langdon in the interview. Her father Paul added, “We always knew where she was and we knew who she was with. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary…To get this phone call at that time of night, (it) was one of the calls no parent ever wants to have to receive, and we unfortunately got that call: ‘Come and get your daughter.’”
Langdon explains that Esra’s friends thought she was having a panic attack, “but after inhaling deodorant, her body was actually starting to shut down, she was in cardiac arrest and no one at the sleepover used cardiac arrest.”
When Andrea arrived at Esra’s side, paramedics were trying to revive Esra and told mom that her daughter had been chroming, something she had never heard of until that moment.
Esra was taken to hospital held onto the hope that their baby girl would recover. After all, her heart and lungs were strong so maybe she would make it through.
After eight days on life support, Paul and Andrea were told that Esra’s brain was damaged “beyond repair and we had to have that decision to turn off the machine.”
Struggling with their words, and reliving their worst day, her parents explained the pain of ending their daughter’s life.
Asked to bring family and friends to the hospital for their final goodbyes, Esra’s dad said: “It was a very, very difficult thing to do to such a young soul. She was put onto a bed so we could lay with her. We cuddled her until the end.”
Overwhelmed by the parent’s heartache, and a mother of two young children, Langdon was unable to contain her emotions and teared up.
After Esra died in early April, Paul says the family is completely “broken,” and Esra’s siblings, Imogen, Seth and Charlie are “shattered.”
“It was really devastating, devastating for everyone involved, all her friends as well,” Paul said. “It’s been the most difficult, traumatic time any parent could go through. We haven’t been sleeping, we’ve hardly been eating, we haven’t been smiling–we’re not ourselves…But it’s not just affected us, it’s the community as well.”
Never having heard of chroming until it killed their daughter, Paul and his wife are on a crusade to bring awareness to the deadly viral craze–easily achieved with store-bought products like deodorant, paint, hairspray or even permanent markers–that’s increasingly popular among teens.
Speaking with a local news station, Paul said he wished he knew of chroming when Esra was still alive, so he could have warned her of the dangers: “If we were educated and the word had been put out there, we would have had the discussion around our kitchen table for sure.”
“We need to ramp it up and let these kids find out the information first-hand, and not through friends, and not through social media–then they’re given the right advice off the bat.”
Paul plans to educate parents, allowing them the opportunity of educating their children, and hopefully saving their lives. their children.
“(Parents) need to sit and have a chat to their children, and just open that conversation up gently with them. We certainly didn’t know what was going on.”
Since 2009, the alarming trend of chroming is responsible for the deaths of multiple children across Australia, and around the world.
Chroming–that can lead to seizures, heart attack, suffocation, sudden sniffing death, coma, and organ failure–is attractive to young people as a method to get an immediate short-term high.
“We’ve got the pictures in our mind which will never be erased, you know, of what we were confronted with,” Paul told Langdon. “Our gut was ripped out.”
We cannot imagine how painful it is for a family to make the decision of taking their young child off life support. Our hearts go out to the Haynes family and to all the loved ones that Esra left behind.