Family left 'devastated' after 11-year-old boy dies from viral 'chroming' challenge

Family left 'devastated' after 11-year-old boy dies from viral 'chroming' challenge
11-year-old boy dies at Lancaster property as police launch investigation

The family of an 11-year-old boy who tragically died after taking part in a highly dangerous viral “chroming” challenge have spoken out for the first time.

According to his family, Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington died on Saturday (March 2) after suffering a cardiac arrest following the inhalation of toxic chemicals.

“Chroming”, or "huffing", involves the inhalation of chemicals from products such as paint and aerosol cans, for a short-term high.

The act can be extremely dangerous and lead to heart attacks or suffocation and permanent liver, brain and kidney damage.

Tommie-Lee's grandmother Tina said about the tragic death in an interview with the Lancashire Post: "He died instantly after a sleepover at a friend's house. The boys had tried the TikTok craze 'chroming'. Tommie-Lee went into cardiac arrest immediately and died right there and then. The hospital did everything to try and bring him back but nothing worked. He was gone."

When approached for comment by indy100, a TikTok spokesperson said that the platform could find no evidence of ‘chroming’ being a TikTok-specific challenge. They also confirmed that the search "chroming challenge" came with a public service announcement on the platform.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Tommie-Lee’s family to help with funeral costs. "We have loads of friends that are doing raffles etc. The support that we are receiving is truly amazing and we are so very grateful," said Tina.

His grandmother also wants to raise awareness of dangerous challenges on social media.

Tina said: "Both our families are utterly devastated but we all want the same thing. We don't want any other children to follow TikTok or be on social media. In fact, we want to get TikTok taken down and no children to be allowed on any social media under 16 years of age.

“This is breaking us all but we want to help save other children's lives and give families awareness to keep their children safe. I have had so many messages from parents thanking me for making them aware.”

A police spokesperson said: “An investigation is ongoing and the boy’s family are being supported by specially trained officers. Our thoughts are with the boy’s loved ones at this incredibly sad time.”

TikTok previously said the platform “does not allow dangerous challenges, and we proactively find 99 per cent of content removed for breaking these rules”.

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