PORTLAND, Ore. – A father from La Grande, Ore. began a walk across the country Saturday to share the painful story of his bullied son’s death.
In January, 15-year-old Jadin Bell tried to hang himself at an elementary school playground in La Grande. Someone passing by tried to rescue Bell, but he died weeks later at a Portland hospital when he was taken off life support.
Bell's family said the teenager, who was gay, was pushed to suicide after being bullied both in person and on the Internet. His father, Joe Bell, hopes sharing his son’s story will help save other lives.
“He was hurting so bad,” Bell said. “Just the bullying at school. Yeah there were other issues, but ultimately it was all due to the bullying, for not being accepted for being gay.”
Jadin’s uncle, Bud Hill, along with concerned mother Heather Martin, are among the founding members of Faces for Change. Their foundation's mission is to take on bullying in Jadin Bell's name.
Joe Bell says he wants to talk to students and educate parents about bullying.
“For me personally, I’ll speak from my heart and I think that people will understand that,” he said. “My goal is to get my son’s word out there. His name, his experiences. Just to get our story out there.
Bell plans on finishing the trip in New York City, where Jadin wanted to live after he graduated from high school.
“For young people having any trouble, we want to be able to share with them to hang in there. It’ll get better.”