Our Wish Kid, Kira, is a perfect example of how kids dealing with life-threatening illnesses are often bullied
Kira has Cystic Fibrosis, an illness that causes difficulty breathing, frequent coughing and lung infections that requires daily treatments and sometimes hospitalization
For Kira, the bullying started in elementary school; her classmates were jealous when she came to school late or left early. They didn’t understand her irregular schedule, why she couldn’t participate in certain activities or why she was absent for days. They teased her and laughed at her when she had to rest during a volleyball game. The kids became angry and complained that she received special treatment and was excused from P.E. class.
By the time Kira entered Junior High, she was bullied for her health issues on a daily basis; even her best friend from elementary school joined the bullies. The kids taunted her, called her names; when she coughed they said she was contagious and often hit her. The physical threats and teasing grew to the point that Kira’s parents kept her home and enrolled her full-time in an online school.
But Kira didn’t let this stop her. Despite the daily struggles with her illness and being bullied, she has followed her passion to sing and perform. She uses her talents as a platform to educate people about Cystic Fibrosis. In 2013, Kira also became a youth advocate for Free2Luv, a non-profit group who educates and speaks out against bullying. Kira shares her experience with kids at local schools to help bring awareness and hopefully an end to bullying.
Kira’s message is, “Don’t judge others for how they look, what they wear or if they have an illness. An illness doesn’t define someone. Just because you are sick doesn’t mean you aren’t a normal person with feelings. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect”.
We hear similar stories like Kira’s over and over again. We know that having a life-threatening illness is difficult enough to live with, without being bullied. Kira’s bullies didn’t understand that she would much rather have been running and playing with them than struggling to breathe or spending days in the hospital fighting for her life.
Kids Wish Network’s hope is to help people understand how children dealing with life-threatening illnesses and other adversities feel about being bullied. Please join us in working towards a positive change in ending bullying.
By taking a stand together, we can make a difference.