SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – After a video posted on social media showed the impacts of bullying on one little boy, the world heard his story and rallied behind him.
Now 9-year-old Quaden Bayles, of Australia, has some new friends and some new plans.
Celebrities, including fellow Australian Hugh Jackman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and more, are sending their love and support to Quaden after the viral video showed the heartbreaking toll bullying had on him.
His mother, Yarraka Bayles, posted the video on Facebook Tuesday. It shows Quaden in tears, saying, “give me a knife, I want to kill myself” after being bullied at school.
Bayles said Quaden was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.
The Facebook live video spread like wildfire, amassing millions of views and messages of support, including a personal video from Jackman.
“Quaden – You are stronger than you know. And no matter what, you’ve got a friend in me,” Jackman said. “Everyone, let’s be kind to each other. Bullying is not OK. Period. Life is hard enough. So let’s just remember — every person in front of us is facing some kind of battle.”
“Walking Dead” star Jeffrey Dean Morgan spoke out about his own experience as a dad, saying, “kids can be horrible.”
“What I want you to know is that you have friends, me included. I am your buddy,” he said. “You have a bunch of friends out here, out in the world, that you haven’t met yet. We’re here, we got your back. You need to know that. It’ll get better.”
Australian boxer Bill “The Kid” Dib even offered to help Quaden by giving him one-on-one boxing lessons.
The former featherweight world champ tweeted he already talked to Quaden about it.
Actor Mark Hamill responded to the video in a series of tweets, saying, “the cruelty is as astonishing as it is heartbreaking.”
Music producer Scooter Braun tweeted, in part, “We stand with you buddy.”
Enes Kanter with the Boston Celtics also tweeted his support for Quaden after a photo of him in a Boston Celtics jersey circulated online.
Comedian Brad Williams, who was also born with achondroplasia, started a campaign to send Bayles and his mother to Disneyland. As of Friday, Williams surpassed his $10,000 goal, raising over $224,000 for Bayles and his family in less than a day.
Fiji Airways even donated round-trip plane tickets, Williams added.
Quaden even got a special invite from the NRL Indigenous All Stars, who invited him to lead them out on Saturday night’s match at Cbus Super Stadium.
“Just want to wish you all the best, brother. We know you’re going through a hard time right now but the boys are here, we’ve got your back. We’re here to support you, bud,” said Indigenous All-Stars fullback Latrell Mitchell.
And it looks like Quaden and his mom are not only going to California but Singapore, too.
Chatri Sityodtong, founder/CEO of ONE Championship, a Singapore-based mixed martial arts company, shared early Friday on social media that Quaden and his mother had “graciously accepted my invitation to come to Singapore for an all-expenses-paid vacation so Quaden can learn martial arts at EVOLVE.”
So what does Quaden have to say after the outpouring of love and support?
Quaden and his mom spoke to Australia’s National Indigenous Television (NITV) and the boy had a few words of advice for other kids who may be getting bullied, too.
“If you get bulled, just stand up for yourself,” he said. “Don’t listen to what they say. The parents should make their kids be nice to people with disabilities.”
“It’s 2020 and bullying is at an all-time high,” his mother said. “People need to know that it’s affecting so many children, more than we know and a lot of people don’t speak out about it. They’re too scared. They don’t have a voice. So I feel that as I have a duty of care now, it’s my obligation as a mum and a community member to make sure people are aware of this incident. And by speaking out, we’re taking our power back.”
Quaden added, “A lot of my famous favorite people are messaging me on Instagram…like my favorite rappers.”
You can watch the full video below:
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
(Video at top from CNN Newsource)