A local family has a strong message. They don't want another kid to die the way their daughter did. She was playing the choking game, in which kids cut off their air supply to get high.
Kimi Garnett was a beautiful 15-year-old girl with a big smile. She was a straight-A student, a standout athlete, and well-liked by her classmates in Calhan. But her mom and stepdad reflect on how they will never get to see their daughter graduate.
“You never want to understand what it feels like. I hope you never do,” said Kimi’s mother Martha Garnett.
“It’s been definitely the hardest thing in my life,” said Kimi’s stepfather, Henry Suarez.
There are videos all over the internet of teens playing the game. Kids self strangulate to get a brief high, but it can lead to accidental death. Martha says that's exactly what happened to Kimi.
“It’s called the choking game and it's a game nobody wins,” said Suarez.
In April Kimi went to take a shower, but her parents became concerned when she didn't come back out.
“I knocked on the door, there was no answer so I used a screwdriver to pop open the bathroom door and that's when we found her,” explained Martha.
While nothing will bring their daughter back, Martha and Henry say they're determined to raise awareness and put a stop to this dangerous game.
“It just tears a family apart. It's so senseless,” said Martha.
“There's always going to be a void. We know we'll have to live with that, but what would compound it is if we continue to hear kids are falling victim to this,” said Suarez.
Martha and Henry say their daughter would often wear scarves around her neck to hide the bruising. Looking back, they remember a few times she had bloodshot eyes, and would get headaches.
While every parent can look for these signs, they want to remind us a child can die from trying it just once.
Martha and Henry are now working with the parents of Gian-Luc. The 12-year-old Colorado Springs boy also died from the choking game. His parents say he was an outstanding athlete and straight-A student.
Kimi's parents and the parents of Gian-Luc will have a booth at the upcoming Calhan Health Fair on September 13th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help raise awareness.