Amy Everett, 14, was once the face of iconic Australian hat maker Akubra. However, cyber bullies had forced her into suicide. Grief stricken, her parents posted an emotional tribute to their dolly online - including an invitation to the trolls to see what damage they had wrought. The family now swears to put in effort to see that Amy's life wasn't a waste.
"This week has been an example of how social media should be used, it has also been an example of how it shouldn't be," said her father Tick Everett four days after Dolly's death on January 3rd. "There are so many kind words that I have not yet replied to, so instead of wearing out another screen or keyboard I would like to offer my thanks in one big message."
"I know for some suicide is considered cowardly but I guarantee those people wouldn't have half the strength that my precious little angel had, Doll had the strength to do what she thought she had to do to escape the evil in this world," he continued. "Firstly if by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created."
The family has even crafted a slogan to help victims of harassment to come forward. "Speak now even if your voice shakes," it goes. "Let's stop the bullies no matter where, but especially in our kids, as the old saying goes. You will never know what you have until it's gone."
Akubra Hats also took to Facebook. "The young girl many of you will recognise as the face of our past Christmas adverts. This beautiful photo was taken 8 years ago," wrote the page. "Bullying of any type is unacceptable. It is up to us to stand up when we see any kind of bullying behaviour. Dolly could be anyone's daughter, sister, friend. 'We need to make sure that anyone in crisis knows there is always someone to talk to."
"She was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself," said the statement the family sent out to the press. "Out of all the sadness that the loss of our daughter has brought to our lives, we feel that through losing Dolly we would like to help other families by making an awareness of bullying and harassment that some people are sadly subject to. Our vision is to establish a trust called “Dolly’s Dream” through this trust we would hope to raise awareness around bullying, anxiety, depression and youth suicide."
However, they want to take some time to remember Dolly before burying her. "May we please ask for some time to celebrate the life of our much-loved daughter Dolly. This is all we are capable of at the moment and ask for your respect to give us time to grieve," said the family statement.