(Chris Bell / The La Grande Observer)

(Chris Bell / The La Grande Observer)

If you have not seen this story yet, please take a moment to read it, with a box of Kleenex handy.

Joe Bell’s gay son Jadin hung himself after being mercilessly taunted and bullied in school. In grief, and in an effort to do something with his grief, Joe embarked on a cross country walk, which would end up in New York City, where Jadin dreamed of living one day. Along the way, he gave talks to anyone who would listen, spreading his story and bringing awareness to the epidemic of anti-gay bullying that took his son’s life:

Mr. Bell’s artificial knees ached and his feet were mapped with blisters, but he told friends and strangers that he was determined to make it on foot from his home in eastern Oregon to New York City, where his son, Jadin, 15, had dreamed of one day working in fashion or photography. “I miss my son Jadin with all my heart and soul,” he wrote on Facebook in late May. “I know you’re with me on this walk.”

But last Wednesday, Mr. Bell’s American journey — one that drew attention from local newspapers and attracted thousands of followers on social media — ended in an instant on a two-lane road in rural eastern Colorado. He was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer whose driver had apparently fallen asleep, the state police said.

Again, grab tissue before you click on the full story.

[h/t The Awl]