UPDATE: While it seemed likely that Chance was transgender, we originally opted to use the pronouns his family used since it would have been conjecture on our part without knowing the facts. Now that it has been confirmed he was transitioning, we’ve changed the article to use the correct pronouns. Female pronouns are used by his family in the obituary.
When Cherish “Chance” Houle died of suicide on March 31 in Bismarck, North Dakota, he left a gaping hole in his family’s heart. Houle had been bullied relentlessly at school according to the devastating obituary his family wrote to celebrate his life and address his death.
“Cherish was an uplifting person to be around, always concerned for the well-being of those around her,” the obituary starts. “She always had a smile on her face and loved nothing more than to make people laugh.”
“Cherish experienced intense pain most people her age will never know. Throughout the last 6 months of her life, she experienced continual transition and intense bullying at school.”
But not long after, the memorial gets real about his death and the brutal consequences of bullying.
“The word bullying doesn’t begin to encompass ugliness and pain it causes,” his family wrote.
“The ugly truth of bullying is someone who loved Cherish had to open the bedroom door and see what they saw on Saturday. The ugly truth of bullying is those who loved Cherish can’t close their eyes at night because they can’t get the image out of their head.
“The ugly truth of bullying is doing CPR for 4 minutes and 26 seconds. It’s listening to 911 operator tell you to go faster and push harder. It’s knowing that you didn’t open the door early enough for it to matter anyway. It’s that Cherish isn’t here anymore.”
Rest in power, Chance.