Toby's Story

Growing up I became close friends with a girl named Toby Anne, but she moved away to go live with her aunt and grandmother, so I was unable to stay by her side physically. But we kept in touch and she told me about the bullying she was being put through. This is her story of bravery. Toby was diagnosed with cancer at the age 12, the cancer eventually spread to her lungs heavily effecting her breathing.

But this story isn't about how Toby had cancer- the cancer is only a small factor.

Toby came out as pansexual when she was 15, and she was proud of herself, but her peers were not. She had just recently received her oxygen tank so she was a bit slower going through the halls which made it easier on her bullies. They would shove her in the halls, shoot spitballs at her, stick notes that said "fag" on her back, and scream about catching "the gay" when she walked past them. Even so, she did let them bother her.

When she turned 16 she started dating her best friend and the two were happy. Yet Toby received notes saying "Get lost faggot You're not welcome here" and death threats occasionally. But she didn't mind, she just keep wheeling her oxygen tank, whom she fondly named Edgar, around, sending emails to me and kissing her girlfriend happily.

She turned 17 and her bullies got physical. They threw her backpack at the from a balcony, destroyed "Edgar", shoved her down the stairs, and threw both her and heir oxygen tank into a pool. But despite my desperation to get Toby to tell she waved me off, telling me that she was fine and that these kids would remember she was dying and feel bad eventually. She kept telling me that, over and over, saying it would be fine and those kids couldn't hurt her. Even her girlfriend expressed her worry, but Toby laughed it off. She said the teachers wouldn't care anyway; she said they never do.

Two days before she was 18 Toby stopped suffering from personhood, passing on with a smile on her face with her hand in her mother's and her head resting in her girlfriend's lap. After her death her girlfriend told me kids made jokes about her, whispering about how they were glad she was gone.

It's been two years and I am sure all those kids have forgotten Toby, but I remember her and her crooked smile she showed in the face of adversity. The main boy who bullied her did receive karma as I came to learn when I was visiting her grave. He approached me and asked me if I knew Toby and told me what he did, he told me he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and remembered my friend. He told me he was sorry, though he was much too late.

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