There’s been an outpouring of international support ever since the disturbing video of a nine-year-old Australian boy crying and saying he wants to end his life because of bullying, went viral.
More recently, the boy named – Quaden Bayles – was given the honour of leading the Indigenous team in the annual match against the New Zealand Māoris, in Gold Coast.
Bayles walked out with the National Rugby League’s Indigenous All Stars team, ahead of an exhibition match against the New Zealand Maoris .
Captain of the Rugby team Latrell Mitchell appeared in a video, inviting the youngster to have the pre-game honour of leading the side out onto the field.
— NRL (@NRL) February 22, 2020
“We’ve got your back and just want to make sure that you are doing all right … we want you around, we want you to lead us out on the weekend,” Mitchell said.
“Just make sure you are thinking the right things bud, because we want you around, we want you to lead us out on the weekend. Make sure you are looking after yourself and hopefully we are going to see you in the next couple of days.”
The outpouring of support for Bayles came after his mother Yarraka posted a video of the effects of schoolyard bullying on her son.
Hugh Jackman was one of the celebrities to publicly reach out to Quaden. “Quaden, you are stronger than you know, mate,” Jackson said in a Twitter video. “No matter what, you’ve got a friend in me.”
American comedian Brad Williams has helped raise more than $300,000 via a GoFundMe campaign to send Quaden on a trip to Disneyland in California.
The video Quaden’s mother posted vividly showed just how harrowing and crippling bullying can be. “This is what bullying does,” she said into the camera as tears streamed down her son’s face.
“I’ve just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know, parents, educators, teachers, this is the effect that bullying has,” she said.
Bayles is an Australian boy with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. Quaden was diagnosed when he was three days old.
It is very easy to judge someone and make fun of them, but does that really make us superior to them? Or in any way, add to our lives or theirs? However, it does pay to be kind to someone, whether or not you know what they’re going through. When kids face such trauma, it shapes their understanding of the world, as well as themselves. They see themselves and less worthy and not deserving of certain things; needless to say, this can be detrimental in the long run, in more ways than one. So, it is extremely important to sensitize kids and educate them on how to treat others around them – irrespective of what they look like or where they come from.