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Who was Nate Squires? Massachusetts 8th-grader dies in TikTok blackout challenge

He was found unresponsive on June 12 at his home after he tried the 'blackout challenge,' which reportedly expects participants to choke themselves until they lose consciousness
A 13-year-old boy died after reportedly trying the TikTok 'blackout challenge' (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A 13-year-old boy died after reportedly trying the TikTok 'blackout challenge' (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NOTE: MEAWW is only reporting on this trend, and under no circumstance do we encourage anyone to try it. In fact, we advise all our readers not to. If, however, you have an impressionable mind and easily succumb to suggestion, then please stop reading now.

AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS: A family is grieving the death of their child after reportedly losing him to a deadly social media challenge. Nate Squires reportedly died after trying the “blackout challenge”, trending on TikTok. Now, his family is raising awareness of the dangers of the viral challenge.

A message written on the GoFundMe set up after the eighth-grader's death read: “Our entire family feels like the rug has been ripped out from under us. Both Rachel and Dave [the boy’s parents] want the world to know of the circumstances that surround Nate's death to ensure that this does not happen to another family.”


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Who was Nate Squires?

Squires was a 13-year-old boy. He was a student at the Amherst Regional Middle School. According to reports, he was found unresponsive on Saturday, June 12, at his home after he tried the “blackout challenge,” which reportedly expects participants to choke themselves until they lose consciousness. The teen suffered severe injuries due to it and was declared dead on Monday, June 14, at a hospital.

After his tragic death, Samantha Thomas, a relative of Nate’s parents Rachel and Dave, launched a fundraiser. Through the fundraiser, the family is also trying to warn others against this sinister challenge. In the GoFundMe, Thomas wrote, “I am starting this Go Fund Me page for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Rachel and Dave, who tragically lost their son, Nate on June 14th after succumbing to injuries of a horrible accident. Rachel and Dave have a long road ahead of them, the least we can do is try and take away any financial burdens that may face in the upcoming months as they deal with the aftermath of this nightmare.”

She continued, “On June 12th Nate was found unresponsive at home after attempting to do what is known on social media platforms as the ‘black out challenge’. All over the world families are losing children to this. We ask that if you cannot donate, please reach out to a child in your life and talk to them about the black out challenge,” before adding: “Tell them about the dangers that are out there. Tell them to reach out to an adult if they hear about someone they know attempting it. We hope Nate's story can help you start this conversation in your home.”

Amherst-Pelham School Superintendent Michael Morris also reportedly sent an email to families with students at the school. It read, “My heart goes out to the family and the community who knew Nate, and those who were close to him.” In another email, Morris mentioned, “We believe it is important to share such information in a supportive environment where counselors and other trusted adults are available, rather than have students potentially hear the news about their classmate after school before a parent or other caregiver is available to support them,” and added, “There will be a lot of mental health support for kids and adults.”

In addition, Morris told Western Mass News on June 16 that an online event has been organized for the entire district. “Tomorrow night, we’re working with Riverside Trauma Center. They’ve been here on-site for much of the week as well as one of our other schools and they will be supporting us in hosting an online forum for families to support how to talk about this tragedy with kids how to best support their children,” he added.