Deirdre Fell-O’Brien’s daughter, Muireann, celebrated her ninth birthday this week. They celebrated the day the way they always do, she told TODAY Parents, with family and cake in their Garden City, New York, home. But when the O’Briens gathered around to sing “Happy Birthday,” Deirdre began to cry. There was someone missing from the moment: her 13-year-old oldest son, Liam.
For the past six weeks, Liam has been hospitalized and receiving treatment for depression and an eating disorder — the results, his mother says, of relentless bullying during his seventh grade year at Garden City Middle School. Fell-O’Brien decided to write about Liam’s experience on Facebook in order to raise awareness about bullying and to make his story heard. The post has since been shared over 2,000 times.
In her post, Liam’s mom talked about the healthy kid he was before seventh grade. “Liam went into seventh grade very happy. He had lots of friends, he was always on the go, meeting friends on 7th street, riding his bike, playing soccer and he loved food,” she wrote. “A cowboy sandwich was his absolute favorite. He made the seventh-grade soccer team and was so happy and proud. He is an amazing soccer player and he earned a spot on that team.”