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Mum speaks out as young boy left clinging to life after taking part in viral online game


A mum of a 12-year-old boy who was left clinging on to life after taking part in a viral social media challenge has spoken out.

Archie Battersbee’s family believe he may have taken part in the ‘blackout challenge’ after discovering a ligature over his head.

The schoolboy spent eight weeks in an induced coma with medics telling his parents that it is “highly likely” that he is brain dead.

Hollie Dance, 46, and father, Paul Battersbee, 56, are currently arguing over whether Archie’s life support treatment should end.

However, they refuse to give up and are now engaged in a High Court battle over the talented gymnast’s future, the Mirror reports.

Hollie has now directly appealed to the judge and said: “Please, please find it in your heart to give my son the time to heal.

“I refuse to give up, this is my little boy.”

Lawyers representing Royal London Hospital have asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what would be in Archie’s best interests.

They say that the preteen is “brain-stem dead” and life-support treatment should end.

However, Archie’s family are “praying for a miracle,” his heart is still beating and his treatment should continue, the court heard.

Hollie continued: “It’s so hard as a mother. For 12 years I’ve raised him but now we’ve gone into a hospital you lose your right. It’s awful.”

“I’m devastated, the hospital has had Covid patients in a coma on ventilators for three months, it’s longer than Archie has been in hospital.

“This is my child. I’ve had to become a nurse overnight so I can understand what’s happening to Archie.

“Archie should be treated as a living patient until it can be proven that he’s not.”



Hollie has said: "I refuse to give up, this is my little boy”
Hollie has said: “I refuse to give up, this is my little boy”

Hollie, who has two other children, Tom 22, and Lauren , 20, also issued a warning to other parents about the ‘blackout challenge.’

The social media craze first began 14 years ago and challenges people to choke themselves until they pass out due to lack of oxygen.

Archie’s mum believes there have been at least 82 deaths linked to the online trend with hundreds more left brain damaged since.

She said: “It’s possible that Archie was taking part in an online challenge. Kids will do what kids will do.

“It’s important that parents are aware about these things so they can have a conversation with their children.

“They need to explain what might happen, and maybe use Archie as an example, then maybe the child would take notice and not try it.”



Hollie with her son in the hospital
Hollie with her son in the hospital

She said they were planning a cinema trip when she found Archie with a noose around his head on the landing outside his bedroom.

Hollie said: “I went to check where he was and I called for him and he didn’t answer.

“Then I realised that he was hanging from the bannister with something round his neck.”

Frantic Hollie snapped the dressing gown belt before he plunged eight feet to the floor below.

She desperately ran into the street outside screaming for help before returning to carry out CPR.

Hollie said: “My neighbour called the ambulance while I tried to resuscitate him. I was just hysterical.”



Archie with a noose around his head on the landing outside his bedroom
Archie with a noose around his head on the landing outside his bedroom

Archie was taken to nearby Southend University Hospital.

His family say he “was making attempts to breathe on his own and his pupils were reactive.”

Within days he had been transferred to Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London.

Doctors told Hollie that “Archie would not make it through the night” but he has staged an astonishing eight-week fight for survival.

His family believe he could make a full recovery and are inspired by stories like Lewis Roberts, 19, who was struck by a van in Leek, Staffs, in March 2021.

At one point the family was told he had suffered a brain-stem death but hours before surgery to donate his organs, he began to breathe on his own.

Hollie said: “Lewis is out of hospital and is playing basketball. We want Archie to be given the same chance.”



Archie was transferred to Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London
Archie was transferred to Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London

This week Archie’s story reduced This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby to tears when she appeared to relive the tragic case.

And sports stars from around the world have sent messages of support to help shake him from his coma.

Six-time Olympic medalist Max Whitlock urged the Archie to keep fighting and invited him to join him in the gym when he recovers.

In a recorded message he said: “Archie I’ve seen your videos andI can tell you’re a pretty tough kid.

“You’ve got everybody around you right now, everybody is supporting you.

“And I want to make you a deal, I want to see you back in the gym.

“Come and see me in the gym, I’ll bring my medal in, we can take some pictures, you can wear it, we can do whatever you want.

“I hope to see you back in the gym, hope you get better, Archie.”

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