Mother Of Nigel Shelby, Teen Who Killed Himself After Anti-Gay Bullying, Said She'd Been Taking Him To Therapy For Depression
"A lot of people don't understand that depression is a real disease."
Less than a week after Huntsville High School freshman Nigel Shelby committed suicide, his mother is speaking out for the first time about the fond memories she shared with her only child.
Camika Shelby sat down for an exclusive interview with NBC News and spoke about Nigel's aspirations to become a performer, adding that she's still "shocked" her 15-year-old boy would take his life.
"He was just special," Camika said on Tuesday. "Nigel was the sweetest child. He was so outgoing. He was always full of joy, full of light."
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Nigel reportedly endured anti-gay bullying from peers.
In spite of Nigel's cheerful demeanor, Camika says her son still suffered from bouts of depression and revealed the two regularly visited therapists to help cope with his emotions.
"Depression is real, it really is," she said. "A lot of people don't understand that depression is a real disease."
Camika doesn't blame Nigel's death on the bullying alone; however, she says the tormenting never helped the teen fully embrace his sexuality. Nigel came out to his mother two years ago.
"Coming out at such a young age, it can be hard," Camika told the news outlet. "You never know if you're going to be accepted. He didn't know if I was going to accept it — that's my child I love him."
In the four-minute long interview, Camika also shared the last conversation she and her late son had the night before he died.
"He told me, 'Mom I’m going to do better in school.' He kissed me and told me that he loved me. That was the last conversation that I had with my baby," Camika said choking back tears.
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As she prepares to bury her son, Camika spoke about the legacy she envisions he will leave behind.
"I don't want him to be remembered as a kid that was bullied for being gay and took his own life," she explained. "He was sunshine. He was such a good spirit to have around. It breaks my heart because I feel like he had so much love to give."
In the wake of his death, a GoFundMe campaign was created to help cover funeral costs and surpassed its goal $26,000.
The late teen was also paid tribute to during an Easter Sunday Drag Brunch in Alabama.
According to WAFF 48, Nigel will be laid to rest on Saturday.
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