11-year-old cancer survivor commits suicide over bullying

Posted at 11:13 PM, Nov 01, 2016

CABLE, Ohio -- An 11-year-old cancer survivor with a “crooked smile” killed herself Oct. 19 after school bullying became too much to bear, CNN reported Tuesday.

Bethany Thompson of Cable, Ohio, was diagnosed with a brain tumor at three years old. The radiation treatments left her cancer-free by 2008 but caused permanent nerve damage. Her "crooked smile" and curly hair became targets for bullies within her sixth grade class at Triad Middle School.

After a particularly tough Wednesday at school, CNN reported, Bethany found a gun in her family’s home and shot herself. Her stepfather was asleep in another room.

Bethany’s history with bullies was known by school officials, her mother, Wendy Feucht, told CNN. The Triad Local School District last year investigated and “appropriately resolved" a bullying complaint involving Bethany, and she saw a counselor to help develop coping mechanisms and deal with her struggles with self-esteem.

But the harassment continued, her mother told CNN. On the day she died, Bethany and a friend approached administrators with handmade anti-bullying posters, but were told they could not post them in the hallways.

Since Bethany’s suicide, donations and messages of sympathy have reached her family from all over the country, but her mother told CNN it would never be enough to close the wound left by her daughter’s death.

"I’ve had this constant in my life for 12 years, and now it’s gone," she said. "Nothing’s going to be able to fill that hole."

Bethany’s family plans to use the financial donations to cover her funeral costs and set up a scholarship fund in her name.