An 11-year-old boy who attempted suicide after being bullied by his classmates may be left with permanent brain damage.
Michael Morones was allegedly taunted by his classmates for being a fan of the children's television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, because they said watching it was 'gay'.
Michael's mother Tiffany Morones-Suttle has revealed that her son said to her: "Mum, I'm tired of people being mean to me, I'm tired of people calling me gay, I'm tired of people telling me I'm ugly, that I'm stupid."
Michael's stepfather, Shannon Suttle, told anti-bullying campaigner Carrie Goldman: "He said to us that the other kids were telling him he was gay for loving Pinkie Pie [his favourite character] and they were trying to make him feel ashamed for being gay.
"We said that we didn't care if he was gay or straight; he was our son and we would love him."
But after returning from school on Thursday 23 January, Michael attempted to hang himself in his bedroom. His parents rushed him to hospital and he has been in a critical condition ever since.
Doctors performed a tracheotomy to help him breathe but they say the oxygen to his brain was cut off for some time and this may have caused brain damage, though the extent of the damage is still unknown.
Ms Morones-Suttle, told the US ABC news network: "We won't know for months how much he is going to heal. It could even be years before we find out what potential for healing he has.
"I've heard a lot of people say you need to go after bullies and hold them responsible," she added. "But you know, I don't think that's what Mike would want. I would rather teach people how to do right than turn around and punish, because punishment doesn't always work."
A fund set up to help pay for Michael's care has so far raised more than $57,000 (£34,965), with a lot of donations reportedly coming in from the global 'brony' community, which consists of men who like My Little Pony.
Support has also come from the people behind Michael's favourite show. Andrea Libman, the voice actor who plays Pinkie Pie, has got every member of the cast to record special messages for Michael, after she was contacted by his step-father.
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details.
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