It’s been a year since Jessi Tolhurst passed away and there isn’t a day that goes by where her family don’t think of her.
Her mum, Mel, has shared a touching tribute to her 14 year old daughter declaring the 7th December as “my Chooks day, Bobdans Day, Jessi Day and this day will live on forever in our hearts and this day will be the day that the heavens celebrated my angel going home, my baby girl, my chook living a life she so deserved in peace. Because on this day chook went home to live in a place of peace, love and joy, for no one ever to destroy her again.”
Jessi was another victim of bullying and the bullying got so bad, the teen sought peace by taking her life.
Since Jessi’s death, Mel has been determined to ensure another teen doesn’t go through what her beautiful daughter went through. The Bobdan Foundation was launched and the last year has been a busy one, fighting for kids who have been bullied and have been tempted to seek solace from suicide.
The fight is an ongoing one and one that all of us parents should get behind to ensure bullying is stamped out for good.
Jessi’s story has gone worldwide and much is still needed to be done to ensure our kids feel safe at school.
Here is Mel’s full post.
2.35pm my son and I was to find his sister and my daughter lifeless, no heartbeat and cold blue.
2.35pm our world ended.
Everyone knows the story, the world knows and loves my chook, we all have been touched by her loving presence in one way or another. So instead of going over the horrific day I feel that I need to write about my first year of a life long change that is now my journey.
As I sit here and think about the year that has gone I see all the things that have changed, been achieved, silence broken, kids lives changed for good, systems changing, petitions out their and so much more.
Lets start with the day after I had my chook stolen. I put on my personal facebook status about the loss of my baby girl. Im not sure what happened and cant really remember much of those first few days, but what I do know is that Jessi went world wide. We had people from UK, Englad, netherlands, all over message us. We also had 4 messages from teenagers like chook that let us know that Jessi story saved their lives, I do remember 1 girl had planned to take her life that night and she read Jessi story and then couldnt do that to her family.
In this last year we have been working alongside the Adolescent Mental Health Team to show them as where their system is broken and failing our kids and what needs to be changed in our opinion. One year ago, if you took your teenager into Emergency because they were self harming or suicidal and all the hospital would do is take bloods, urine etc and if their was nothing physically wrong they would send you home with a bunch of pamflets (Great help hay……). But now their has been a system put into place where all Emergency Departments have to follow a protocol and plan of action for those kids.
One step in the right direction.
We have also been trying to work alongside the Department of Education. This has been a battle and I cant say much has changed in the way of how schools are dealing with this. What I can say is that I think that with some push and shove we have helped some students get out of the schools to move on and away from being bullied. Although this has not been a fair way to help these kids cause they should by all rights feel safe and be allowed to get an education this has been the only way to help these kids as the schools dont listen that much.
I must say that over this past year the Mental Health Team have been willing to listen and learn and own up to their mistakes of what chook and our family have gone through, but as for the Education Department they are not as co-operative in this area.
Saying this does not mean we are leaving it at that or giving up it just means that we need to continue to fight harder.
We also started a petition, it was an online petition to start off with to change laws in NSW to make bullying against the law so these kids have conseuqences and will be accountable for their actions. In the first 2 weeks we received over 20,000 signatures. Knowing that we only needed 10,000 we wanted to now take this to Parliament. We then found out that NSW was the only State in Australia that wouldnt take online signatures and they wanted original signatures.
WHAT THE HELL !!!!!!!!
So anyways we didnt give up but we fought on and started another petition using original signatures. Mailing, Emailing, placing them all over the State, we fought back. I can let everyone know that at the last count some weeks ago we had 7,986 original signatures.
Awesome work to all, we could not have done any of this without the support of the public.
With all the kids, parents, and loved ones that have come to us for help I want to thankyou for speaking up, for shouting out. I also hope that to any degree that we have been able to help in one way or another or have at least let you know and made you feel that you are not alone, even in a little way.
So in the year that was I have been on this journey with my chook no longer by my side but in my heart. I have been to meetings with the Education Minister and Health Minister at Parliament house, we have had meetings with the local Education Department and the local Adolescent Mental Health Teams, we have slapped 6,000 complaints on the desk of the Minister for Education at Parliament. We have seen alot of heartache, tears and sadness and are still fighting mad. We have fought for kids being bullied in schools, some we have lost the battle and some we have won, we have and will continue to fight.
I have made some beautiful friends who I have never met but who have been on this journey with me from the start. I have lost friends that obviously have struggled to know how to handle this tragedy and have just continued on with their lives without us in it.
We had to move due to tragedy of chook being stolen. It was exactly one month to the day after we lost chook that this move took place.
We have had to have the police involved since chook left because of the continual bullying to chook after she has gone. Their have been memes, foul sayings etc.
I personally just want to thankyou all for allowing my sorrows and sadness to hit your heart, to allow my story my journey to continue on because without you this wouldnt of happened and it really couldnt of happened.
So thankyou for the letters, comments, present, flowers and all the love you (YES YOU) have reached out to me.
The 7th December is my Chooks day, Bobdans Day, Jessi Day and this day will live on forever in our hearts and this day will be the day that the heavens celebrated my angel going home, my baby girl, my chook living a life she so deserved in peace. Because on this day chook went home to live in a place of peace, love and joy, for no one ever to destroy her again.
To my baby girl, my chook, my Jessi,
Their are no words that I can say that tells you where my heart is other than you know how much I love you and how much I miss you.
This is all done in your honour baby girl, and not a day not a minute goes by without me wanting you here with me, needing your hugs and love, my life dies with you chook, but now I live for you and all the things that you fought for I will fight for, all the things that you loved I will love, all the things that needed to change for you I will change them for others, cause your life was and still is a life of selfless love, I will now take over your fight and fight with all my might and heart and we will conquer chook, we will win.
Love you so much baby girl.
Love mum. xxxxx
If you would like to donate funds for the ongoing work by the Bobdan Foundation, you can do so here.