For Kevin’s Sake

The “choking game” took our Kevin on March 30th, 2009 T

Posted in Uncategorized by kltork on April 23, 2009


Kevin embracing life

Kevin embracing life

To find out what we have been doing to fight back against the choking game and to see our most recent Today show interview follow the link ” NEWEST TODAY SHOW SEGMENT FEB 8 2010. To learn about our son please read on.
Hello to all, our family has experienced a horrible tragedy. We lost our son Kevin Monday night March 30th to a craze that has invaded our children’s lives, it is called “the choking game”. He was 15. Before I tell you about how he died I would like to tell you a little about how he lived.

He was the perfect son in every way. He was happy and fun loving and caring, He would be the first to jump in with out being asked and help where needed. He loved his family fiercely. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. He was in several plays in school, he loved music, basketball, writing poetry and stories. He loved making swords and models and he was the most honest young man there has ever been. He truly was perfect in every way. We told each other several times a day that we loved each other and we hugged multiple times a day.

Everyone I have talked to has told me how special he was, and you just felt it when you were in his presence. I am just now finding out how truly amazing this kid was. His classmates got to see a side of him I never did because at home he was our baby boy. Home was where he came to be a kid. When he walked out that door every morning he turned into this strong young man that I can now only know through their stories or his journals. His love for other people just reached out to you with out you even knowing it. One of his classmates told us that 5 minutes after she met him she felt she knew him her whole life.

I want to share with you three of the many stories that demonstrate the strength of his soul. When he was 6 my wife had to go pick up her father at the train station in downtown Seattle. He asked if he could have 75 c to go get a bag of chips from the machine. Well the chips got stuck and did not fall out and my wife told him she didn’t have another 75 c to get another bag. A homeless gentleman overheard this and came up and said here you go maam and gave her the money for another bag of chips and walked away. Kevin got his chips and he and his mother went and sat down. Kevin looked across the train station and saw the man that gave him the money and he asked if he could go share those chips with that man, so he walked over and they just sat and talked and ate potato chips, and that man came up to my wife and told her with tears in his eyes that was the kindest thing anyone had ever done for him.

Two summers ago my father and his wife came to see me and we were downtown on the waterfront and were having dinner. A very scary looking woman came up to me and asked for money. She was an obvious addict so I told her that I would not give her money but she could have my meal. She looked past me and walked up to my son he had pulled a ten dollar bill from his wallet, money he earned mowing the lawn, he gave her that money, she said thank you and turned and walked away. We all immediately jumped on him and told him never to do that again, it was a kind gesture but that she was just going to go and buy more drugs or she could have a disease or she could have hurt him. All the things a parent might say in that situation. He got very upset and started crying very softly and was quiet the rest of the night. Later after everyone went to bed he came to me and asked to talk. He told me that he understood why we got mad at him but he just felt that he was supposed to give her that money that somewhere down the road it might make a difference in her life. My eyes filled with tears and I grabbed him and held him to my chest and told him to forget everything we said earlier. That sometimes we adults don’t see things as clearly as a pure soul and his was the purest soul God cold make.

A few months ago he was walking his sister home from the bus stop when a car drove by and yelled something at him and his sister. The car went up the hill and turned around and came back and as the car approached the passenger pulled out a knife and the car slowed down. Kevin grabbed his sister and pushed her behind him and stood to face these two boys ready to do whatever he had to do to protect his sister. The driver yelled an obscenity and drove away.

I want everyone to know this was the way Kevin lived his life everyday. There was no sacrifice too great. No task too big and for those of you that knew him… you experienced it. He had compassion for everyone he met that never wavered not even a little. He stood his ground for what he believed and didn’t care what anyone else thought. We found a statement that Kevin wrote and I think this sums up who he was pretty well. He wrote: “I believe that life is eternal and life is a flame that will never go out. I am a Christian so I believe in God and heaven. I also believe that we go there when our life here is over. I believe that angels are the souls of our loved ones that come to see their families and to watch over them and be close to them and try to help them. This is what I believe.”

Two days before he died he and I were talking. We were sitting at the kitchen table. We would do this quite often late at night. He was asking about a friend of the family that died 6 years ago. She died of cancer. She died in my arms at a hospital in Minot, North Dakota in 2003. We had been friends for over 20 years. At the moment of her death here in Washington, he woke up and came downstairs very upset and told his mom that Norine had just died. He was asking me that night at the table how he knew that. I told him that sometimes people have connections that go beyond what we can hear and see, and that this ability was very strong in the men in our family. I told him it was very strong in him as well, this conversation led to one about sacrifice and I was telling him that there may come a time when I would have to sacrifice my own life for that of another and that he would then have to help take care of his mom and his sister and that I would always be there to help him. And that when I died Norine would be there to greet me. I then told him that if he were to die that she would be there for him as well. He then asked me if he had to sacrifice his life to save his mom and sister would I be ok with that. I said ok with it no because he was my boy and I loved him but if it had to happen then I would be able to accept it because he would be saving the life of his mom and sister and that was the way we raised him. To do what was right. He then asked what if it was a total stranger would I be able to handle that. I told him… well son, again I would not like it and it would hurt me forever but if he felt he had to do that and that the life he saved may go on to do great things then yes I could live with it because that’s what warriors do. He then said that if he had to die he would want it to be saving others. I teach self defense at a karate school in Auburn Wa. and I understand that sometimes one might have to make that ultimate sacrifice to save another and I like to think I will be brave enough when called upon to do that but how many 15 year old boys in today’s day and age would even consider it. This was the man my boy had become.

Our hearts have been destroyed by this loss and when I was at a point where I could not go on when I had reached the bottom of my pain I suddenly felt his love come into my heart and pull the pieces together and I felt him giving me a message. And that message was: “Dad I need to let people know about this. There are other kids just like me that are being reached online and at school and are thinking of trying this. You have to stop it. I didn’t mean to die, I didn’t mean to hurt you and mama and Kelly. I’m so sorry but it’s up to you now to let people know”. And my soul was surrounded with his love.

On the night he died the paramedics said they had his heart beating and he was trying to breath, but I think he was given a choice and knowing Kevin he made the choice to let his death help save other people and if it meant he had to sacrifice himself to do it he would because that was kind of young man he had become and he knows how strong our family is and he knows how strong our friends are and he knows God will get us through this.

I am asking anyone who reads this letter to pass it on or if you don’t like to forward emails then to print this email out and show it to people. And please pray for our son and our family that with Gods love we will survive this. For those of you who have lost a child you understand our grief. For those of you who have not please protect your children and share with them our story and be as graphic and as candid as they can handle so that maybe just maybe we can all stop this. HUNDREDS of kids have died. This “game” is taking our children at an alarming rate and people have got to know! Parents have to be told that this activity is not a fad it is an epidemic that is killing our children. Please scroll down to the section below labeled “How to protect your children from dangers of the choking game”. There you will find the details of how Kevin died and more information on this deadly activity.

I am asking, begging on my knees to anyone that reads this letter. Talk to your children about this activity. Educate yourself about the dangers and what physically occurs in the body as a result of this “game”. Make them aware. Then love them, hold them, shower them with kisses, because we will never again be able to hold his head on our shoulder or smell the scent of his hair or watch his face light up when he smiles or see the twinkle in his eyes or feel his arms around us, or hear again the last words he spoke to me ” I love you too dad”
Help me fight this battle. Pray with all your might, and tell anyone who will listen. Our family will bear this cross that God has asked us to carry but please share our story, our grief, our loss, so that someone you know and love will not have to experience this unspeakable, unbearable, unending pain. And then my son’s death will not be in vain.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” – Nelson Mandela

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity~Horace Mann

As a direct result of Gods power and this email our story was aired on two local news channels, in multiple online news sites and in two local newspapers. We were also able to spread this message on the Today Show in New York which aired Fri April 24th. We were able to reach millions of people..but… there are millions more that STILL have not heard of this activity. And with summer coming, it is imperative that we get this word out or our tragic senseless loss will be repeated by another family somewhere. For more information we have a blog site..
This site has links to much more information about this activity and there is also a copy of this email there that you can copy and paste and send. Please help continue to spread this word until every parent and every school knows the truth about this activity. Thank you.
Ken Tork

8 Responses

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  1. Katie said, on April 24, 2009 at 5:52 am

    God Bless you all! I will be praying for you all!! ( I sent you an email) I am so sorry for your loss!

  2. Kay said, on April 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Our heartfelt condolences go out to your entire family. I lost my husband to a “choking game” over 13 years ago; the coroner called it “auto-erotica.” Except for a segment on CBS “60 Minutes” back in the early 1990’s, I’d never heard of this activity before. We found out that my husband had engaged in this behavior since his late teen years, probably when he entered the Coast Guard. He was a wonderful man, kind, generous to a fault, and my dearest friend…and then one day he was gone…I’d lost him to a senseless act that he seemed powerless to stop. The funeral director told me that he’d lost his father-in-law to the same “hanging game.” His father-in-law was well over 50 years old. For many years I lied about the cause of my husband’s death because I didn’t want to tarnish his memory, he was loved and respected by all who met him. Looking back, I did see signs…marks on his neck that he said were razor burns from shaving…and I believed him. This horrible activity needs full exposure to the light of day; this is nothing new…men and boys have been engaging in this activity for many, many years. Your courage in speaking out will save lives — God bless you!

  3. Alessia said, on April 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. Kevin sounded like a lovely young man who just got mixed up with the wrong thing. I’m the same age as he was, fifteen, and the thought of dying right now seems crazy, but it happens. Though I’m not the most religious person you’ll meet, God bless you and your family.

  4. Jill said, on April 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Truly sorry for the loss of your son. He sounds, by all accounts, like one amazing young man. I am in the medical profession and will do the best I can to spread the word to patients I see/physicians I work with about this issue. I’m not aware of any current American Academy of Pediatric recommendations regarding counseling children and adolescents about this “game” (in fact, I’m relatively sure there aren’t any), but it will be a good place to start spreading the word even further. God bless.

  5. Bridgette said, on April 25, 2009 at 8:06 am

    my heart goes out to you and youre family i am the mother of a nine year old boy and couldnt imagine this happening to him I will do my best to tell him and warn him about this game. may GOD bless you and youre family my prayers are with you and youre family

  6. best cd interest rate said, on March 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for posting this article. I’m decidedly frustrated with struggling to search out pertinent and rational comment on this matter. Everybody now goes to the very far extremes to either drive home their viewpoint that either: everyone else in the planet is wrong, or two that everyone but them does not really understand the situation. Many thanks for your succinct, relevant insight.

  7. Danielle said, on April 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Mr. Tork, this website is beautiful and Kevin sounds like an amazing boy. I am so sorry that he lost his life to this “game.” My condolensces go out to you and your family. I will be praying for you all.

  8. Molly said, on August 14, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I know I’m here years late and you might not even read this any more but I couldn’t not comment.

    First of all, I can’t express how sorry I am for your loss. It seems like when someone young dies, they’re always the kindest, most generous souls.

    But I believe that that is no coincidence. I believe that people like your son know even before they are born that they are going to have to give up their mortal lives earlier than most in order to save other people and their families from having to suffer that same pain. I don’t know why I believe this as it’s not something I was ever taught, and I don’t have any understanding about why things should have to be this way. But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that those who die young are so often extraordinary people. And I believe that you, your wife and your daughter also knew your fate before you were born, and agreed to suffer this unbearable pain so that others wouldn’t have to. You, like Kevin, are extraordinary people.

    I don’t know if my thoughts are of any use to you. I hope you and your family are doing as well as you can.

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