A Massachusetts mother who received the phone call every parent fears is sharing photos of her hospitalized teen daughter to warn others about the dangers of underage drinking. Melissa Aho, of Baldwinville, Massachusetts, posted the photos of her daughter, Ryleigh Payton, on Tuesday, and she urged others to share them.
“This past Saturday night my 15 year old daughter asked me to sleep at a friends house and go to the moves. I said yes,” Aho wrote. “She has always been very good at communicating with me and checking in with me. But her plans changed that night and the series of events that followed are nothing that any family should have to experience…”
Aho wrote that she received a Facebook message from someone at around 1 a.m. informing her that someone else had received a phone call about Ryleigh, who was passed out.
“Immediately my heart sank and I tried to call her phone repeatedly and of course there was no answer,” Aho wrote. “I questioned who, where, when, why’s… and received no answer back because that girl was already in route of finding the girl who called her and my daughter, picked them up and brought them to my driveway.”
Aho described finding her unconscious daughter in the back of a car. Ryleigh was covered in vomit and foaming at the mouth. Aho said all she was told of the night was that her daughter had been drinking vodka, but it was unclear whether she had been given any opioids or other substances. She said paramedics administered Narcan, a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and aims to reverse an overdose, four times but Ryleigh was unresponsive.
Aho said her daughter was intubated and rushed to University of Massachusetts Medical Center, where doctors informed her that Ryleigh was no longer breathing on her own.
“I suffered 14 long hours pleading and begging for my daughter’s life, experiencing flashbacks from the moment she was born, to her first smile and giggle, the first time she said Mumma, her first step, her 1st birthday, her first day of school, her first friendship, sleepover, sickness, her graduation of middle school, our private mother daughter moments, laughing, joking, running, snuggling and so forth, I was thinking of her siblings and what losing her would do to them and the rest of her family and all of the people that love her,” Aho posted.
Aho posted that Ryleigh eventually woke up, and is now home recovering from breathing issues and other injuries that stemmed from intoxication.
Aho said that, as details of Ryleigh’s night unraveled, it became clear that most of the teens she was with did not want to call parents or authorities because they feared they would get in trouble. She said only one acquaintance sought information about what had happened to Ryleigh and called for help. She credited that person with saving her daughter’s life.
“That one girl saved my daughter’s life by contacting someone who could get ahold of me and if it were not for her the reality of it is I would be burying my daughter this week,” Aho wrote. “Parents share this with your children so they can see the dangers of underage drinking and what it can do!!!”