Bullying is a serious issue that affects people of all ages. In schools this problem seems to be particularly prevalent.
Even very young children experience the painful effects of bullying and sometimes go to extreme lengths to avoid it. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, recognized bullying as a serious epidemic and made a PSA-style video to encourage others to stand up against it.
School hallways are supposed to be safe zones with zero tolerance for bullying, but Henry Sembdner’s story is evidence that this is not always the case. Henry, 12 years old, was walking down the school hallway at Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin, Ill., when he bumped into another student.
The student did not shrug it off and continue on his way. Instead, the other student violently slammed Henry to the ground.
Henry took a beating so severe from this student that his face suffered multiple fractures and his brain began bleeding. The risks associated with brain swelling were so great that he was put in a medically induced coma.
It is impossible to imagine being in his family’s shoes as they spent their weekend with Henry in a coma at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Thankfully, the school community has been overwhelmingly supportive of Henry.
With the knowledge that Henry is a Chicago Cubs fan, his fellow classmates have shown up to school wearing Cubs gear in his honor. Henry’s story even hit a nerve with Anthony Rizzo, Cubs first baseman, who tweeted an invite to Henry to join him at Wrigley Field during batting practice and a game.
Many people have been posting encouraging and hopeful messages for Henry with the hashtag “#HenryStrong” included. It turns out that Henry truly is strong, as he awoke from his coma and has even been pictured with a smile on his face now that he is home despite everything that has happened to him.
Henry’s mother, Karen Sembdner, wrote in a blog post, “Over the next couple days we will be scheduling follow up visits with 10 different doctors and rest. We are hopeful that we will not have any backslides and will continue to post as the recovery journey unveils.”
Rizzo even tweeted another message to Henry. He wrote, “Glad you are home Buddy. Keep staying #HenryStrong. See you at Wrigley this summer.”
When his breathing tube was removed, one of the first phrases he uttered was: “I’m hungry!” While that may be a common phrase many mothers of 12-year-old boys hear, it was a beautiful moment for Sembdner who will never again take for granted the sound of her son’s voice.
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