Upon finding his daughter, Julia, collapsed in his home in October 2015, Adrian Derbyshire frantically tried to save her life using CPR, before rushing her to the hospital.
Julia had tried to take her own life by hanging herself after suffering years of online bullying and abuse.
After enduring a decade of cyberbullying in the United States, Julia had just recently returned to the U.K. before tragically taking her own life. Unfortunately, the damaging effects of the abuse in America had already taken an irreversible toll on the 16-year-old.
Adrian, a two-time paralympic fencing gold medalist and anti-bullying advocate, took photos of his daughter just minutes before she took her last breath.
Now, 17 months after her death, on what would have been her 18th birthday, Adrian shared the images of Julia, laying lifeless in a hospital bed to expose the brutal realities of bullying that our culture so often ignores.
“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 says. “But I knew that I was going to use them, obviously to help raise awareness, because I think that the cause is too vital to not use them.”
The paralympic champion said that seeing the photos again made him “physically sick,” but he hopes that by sharing the personal photos of the worst moments of his life, he may be able to prevent another family or parent from experiencing what he’s been through.
“Instead of taking her out for champagne to celebrate her 18th birthday, I was placing flowers on her grave,” said the grieving father.
Adrian is raising awareness of online bullying and the mental health of young people on the @TheJDCampaign Twitter account. The page uses the hashtag #SASSY, which stands for Support Against Self-harm & Suicide in Youth.
“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. It also shows just how desperate the issue is and how needed the campaigns that I do are.”
No parent should have to endure the death of their child when it could have been prevented. Please share Julia’s story to help Adrian raise awareness for this worthy cause.