"My world stopped on October 3 last year and the terrifying images of that night come back to me every day."
Those are the words of Kamila Wisniewska, whose son was killed in a fatal stabbing as he walked through a Gateshead park last year.
Tomasz Oleszak was just days from turning 15 when he was murdered by then 14-year-old Leighton Amies in the Springwell Estate.
Speaking on Monday 13 November, Ms Wisniewska made an emotional appeal to parents - and even wrote a letter to children - calling on them to help tackle knife crime before more lives are lost.
'What is this world coming to when children kill children?'
“I still don't believe I have lost Tomasz forever and I'm still waiting for him to come back," she said. "It's terrifying what Leighton did. How terribly he hurt Tomasz, me, my entire family, friends and our community. Words cannot express how our hearts have been torn to shreds.
“My son never hurt anyone and never wished harm on anyone. He was happy, enjoyed life and had plans for the future.
“My heart goes out to all those families who have lost someone in this way. Hearing of other children whose lives have been lost makes my blood run cold. Who do you have to be to leave home armed with a knife? What is this world coming to when children kill children?"
The heartbroken mother has spoken out in support of a national initiative to tackle knife crime.
Northumbria Police has once again joined the week of action, called Operation Sceptre, which calls on the public to "save a life, ditch the knife".
A knife amnesty makes up part of the scheme. Red surrender bins will be in stations across the force area, offering people the opportunity to hand over any unwanted blades or sharp objects and have them disposed of safely.
Officers will also be out targeting suspects, carrying out additional patrols, searches and warrants, as well as working with partners, including the local authority and the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU).
'Teach them respect for others and the world'
Ms Wisniewska continued: “I really hope that people will learn lessons from our loss but that remains to be seen. I think that badness is hard to overcome, but I do believe change is possible and good should always win.
“For me, this change starts in the home. So I am asking you all, parents and guardians, to please pay more attention to your children before it is too late.
“Teach them respect for others and the world. Be interested in them, ask about their private life and their problems, because sometimes it is not visible, sometimes they keep it to themselves and then it may be too late and someone will be hurt.
“If you need help and you notice bad changes in them, ask the school, psychologists or the police for help. Don't pretend that you don't see it or think that your child will just change, because more often change doesn’t happen and tragedy can happen.”
Bereaved mother Ms Wisniewska has also written a letter to children in which she appeals for their help to save lives.
It is certainly difficult for you to understand what we, Tomasz's family, friends, and our community feel.
Believe us, we never wanted to experience such things. There is nothing worse and more terrible than losing your own child, your best friend, in such a cruel way as being stabbed.
Try to imagine that the friend who is sitting next to you now is sitting there for the last time. That tomorrow they might not be there and that someone will decide to take their life. Imagine that you will never see them again, they will never smile at you, and that your heart will be torn apart forever.
There is nothing more valuable in the world than human life. Your life, still young, where the whole world is open to you. Where beautiful moments are ahead of you, where dreams are yet to come true.
Tomasz didn't get such a chance, even though he wanted it very much. He was a wonderful, good boy. Sometimes he was rude, stubborn and had a mess in his room, but he never wanted to hurt anyone.
I know that depression and poor mental health can be common in adolescence, but don't be afraid to tell your parents and guardians about it. We are here to help you, to raise you to be good people and to introduce you to adult life. We don’t want anyone to be harmed as our beloved Tomasz was harmed.
Please take care of yourself and if you see someone behaving badly, talk about it and report it, whether it is at school or home. This is how we can help and maybe even save a life.
Surrender bins are now at the following stations: Southwick, Millbank, Gateshead, Forth Banks, Bedlington, Middle Engine Lane and Hexham.
They will remain in place until Sunday.
Anyone with any information about someone who is in possession of a prohibited weapon, or wants to report suspicious activity is urged to get in touch with Northumbria Police using the Tell Us Something page on the website or call 101.
Alternatively, you can speak to the charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.
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