Community rallies to support 11-year-old bullying victim who tried to commit suicide

Michael is recovering at home, and his parents are headed to New York for a benefit concert in his honor.
April 12, 2014 7:59:20 AM PDT
Michael Morones is proof of the emotional toll bullying can take.

His parents say the 11-year-old tried to commit suicide after he was bullied. Michael is recovering at home now. His parents say he is surpassing expectations, which they attribute to a fairly remarkable show of support. In fact, it's that support that's got his parents flying to New York this weekend.

In the two months that have gone by since we met Michael, a lot has happened. Most importantly, he's gotten better.

"The fact that he breathes on his own and we can take him places and do things with him makes things that much better," said his mother, Tiffany Morones-Smith.

Michael still has a long way to go, but his breathing and feeding tubes are out, and he's home after nearly two months at a children's hospital in Charlotte.

"It's just been lots of hard work," Morones-Smith said. "Four to six hours a day of physical therapy and occupational therapy and speech therapy."

But along with his recovery, his mom says something else has happened.

"Michael unknowing started something amazing," she said.

Remember, all this came about after Michael tried to commit suicide. His parents say he was being bullied because he likes My Little Pony. Since then, there have been multiple fundraisers in his name across the country: at a comic store in California, a Star Wars fan con in South Carolina, and this Monday, a star-studded concert in New York called Broadway Battles Bullying.

"It's definitely snowballing into something huge," Morones-Smith said.

But it's also the little things, like well wishes sent in by a fourth grade class at Sandy Ridge Elementary School in Durham, and boxes of support coming in, often daily, from around the world.

"Every time I look at things, I get overwhelmed with how much love there is in this world," Morones-Smith said. "And I feel sad we don't show it as often as we should and I'm so incredibly grateful to everybody."

Mostly, the support they've gotten -- emotional and financial -- has given the family some much needed breathing room, and the ability to focus on what's most important.

"Any additional day we get is one more day that we love and one more day to work toward our goals and what we want to achieve," Morones-Smith said.

Michael's parents are actually starting a foundation centering on bullying. But for now they are focusing on priority number one, which is getting Michael communicating again.


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