Australia’s Ally Langdon was visibly shaken during an interview with a couple who faced the excruciating decision of ending the life of their 13-year-old daughter. The young girl tragically succumbed to a dangerous viral trend known as chroming, causing Langdon, who is also a mother, to struggle with her emotions.
Joining host Ally Langdon on the show A Current Affair, Andrea and Paul Haynes shared the painful story of their daughter, Esra Haynes. Esra tragically lost her life due to a social media trend named chroming, which involves inhaling toxic chemicals through the mouth or nose to achieve a sensation of being high.
Esra, described as “determined, fun, cheeky, and talented” by the Montrose Football Netball Club where she served as co-captain, was a promising young athlete. She rode BMX bikes with her brothers and led her team to a national aerobics championship in Queensland.
Tragedy struck on March 31 when Esra attended a sleepover at a friend’s house. In an attempt to achieve a momentary high, she inhaled from a can of aerosol deodorant. The act led to cardiac arrest and caused irrevocable brain damage.
“It was just the usual routine of her going to spend time with her friends,” her mother Andrea told Langdon during the interview. Esra’s father Paul added, “We always knew her whereabouts and who she was with. There was nothing out of the ordinary about that night… Receiving that late-night phone call is something no parent ever wants to endure. Unfortunately, we received that call: ‘Come and get your daughter.'”
Langdon explained that Esra’s friends mistakenly thought she was having a panic attack. However, after inhaling the deodorant, her body was actually beginning to shut down; she was experiencing cardiac arrest, but nobody at the sleepover understood the severity of the situation.
Upon Andrea’s arrival, paramedics were attempting to resuscitate Esra. They informed Andrea that her daughter had been chroming, a term she was unfamiliar with until that tragic moment.
Despite the grim circumstances, Esra was rushed to the hospital and her parents clung to the hope that their daughter would pull through. Her heart and lungs were strong, which gave them a glimmer of hope that she might survive.
After a heart-wrenching eight days on life support, Paul and Andrea were delivered the devastating news that Esra’s brain damage was irreparable. Faced with an unbearable decision, they had to give consent to turn off the life-supporting machine.
Her parents, grappling with their emotions and the traumatic memories, shared the indescribable agony they endured in making the decision to end their daughter’s life.
Invited to gather family and friends at the hospital to bid their final farewells, Esra’s dad described the excruciating experience. He said, “It was an incredibly difficult thing to do to such a young soul. They moved her onto a bed so we could lie down beside her. We held her close and stayed with her until the end.”
Struggling to keep her composure amidst the parents’ profound sorrow, Ally Langdon, herself a mother to two young children, teared up during the interview.
In the aftermath of Esra’s tragic demise in early April, the family has been grappling with immense pain and grief. Paul confessed that they are entirely “broken,” and Esra’s siblings, Imogen, Seth, and Charlie, are inconsolably “shattered.”
Expressing his deep despair, Paul said, “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.”
After the tragic death of their daughter due to ‘chroming’, Paul and his wife are now dedicated to raising awareness about this risky activity. Chroming involves inhaling fumes from common household products like deodorant, paint, hairspray, or permanent markers, which is alarmingly becoming more prevalent among teenagers.
During an interview with a local news station, Paul expressed his regret at not being aware of chroming earlier. He believes that, had they been informed, they could have had a proactive discussion about the dangers of this trend with their daughter, Esra. The couple now advocates for better education around these matters, emphasizing the need for young people to receive accurate information about such dangers directly from reliable sources rather than from friends or social media. This, they hope, will offer the right guidance from the outset, potentially saving lives.
Paul is determined to equip parents with the knowledge necessary to warn their children about the dangers of chroming, hoping that this could prevent further tragedies. He encourages parents to engage in open, gentle conversations with their children about such hazardous activities, acknowledging that they themselves were unaware of this deadly trend until it was too late.
Chroming is not a new trend but has been causing concern since 2009. It has been linked to the deaths of several children, not just in Australia where Paul and his family are based, but globally. The rise of such deadly fads underscores the importance of increasing awareness and education about the risks they pose.
Chroming, an activity that may result in seizures, heart attacks, suffocation, sudden sniffing death, comas, and organ failure, is alarmingly appealing to youth seeking a quick, temporary high. Paul vividly describes the heartrending images and feelings that he and his wife experienced when confronted with the consequences of this lethal craze.
It’s unimaginably painful for any family to decide on removing their child from life support. Our deepest condolences extend to the Haynes family and to all those grieving the loss of Esra. By sharing this story, we hope to reach as many people as possible and help parents protect their children by raising awareness about the dangers of chroming. Let’s educate them about this deadly trend and potentially save lives.