Photography by Venturi + Karpa Image by: Photography by Venturi + Karpa
It was the worst thing that could happen to a parent: the suicide of her daughter.
The story heard across Canada
The details of 15-year-old Amanda Todd's tragic story are well-known. At age 12, the Coquitlam, B.C., teen was convinced by a flattering Facebook "friend" to bare her breasts to a webcam – an action that led to her being harassed, stalked, cyber-bullied and beaten up. She was mocked for one suicide attempt (drinking bleach) and called a psycho after spending time in a mental health institution.
She documented her torments in a series of flash cards in a YouTube video that went viral before she ended her young life last October. During her long ordeal, she and her mother moved several times, trying to escape. But there was no escape. Her stalker would track her down, worm his way into her new circle of online friends, and the nightmare would begin all over again.
Carol's hesitation to share Amanda's story
It wasn't a story Carol wanted to tell – at first. She didn't want her daughter to be defined by how she died. "She was actually a very kind and caring person who loved to help others," says Carol. When news of Amanda's suicide broke, Carol was bombarded by requests for interviews from media from around the globe, but she turned most of them down. As time went on, though, she decided the story could help others.
"Amanda made that video because she wanted to help other kids. I want to tell my story to help other parents."
Her journey to help other bullying victims
So she created the Amanda Todd Legacy Fund to raise money for antibullying and mental-health initiatives, and she now blogs and speaks to groups about her experiences.
"I don't know if we can stop bullying, but we can work together to raise awareness, among parents, potential victims – and the bullies themselves," she says. "Bullies always say, ‘I was just joking.'" But it's obviously no joke, as Amanda's fate amply demonstrates. Carol says if she can help one person escape that terrible consequence, it will have been worth it. And she knows she's already helped many. But she says she doesn't consider herself a crusader or activist. So how does she describe herself? "As a mother," she says. "I'm just a mother."
|This story was originally titled "Me to We Award Winners" in the October 2013 issue.|
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