Yarraka Bayles, the mother of 9-year-old Quaden, said the intentional attention he video of Quaden opening up about the bullying he faces at school has strengthened his family and community since going viral. In the video, Quaden, who was born with dwarfism, said he considered suicide after facing bullying at school. The original Facebook Live video has been viewed more than 24 million times and caught attention from celebrities around the world.
Quaden's mother, who was joined by South Sydney player Cody Walker, told reporters Quaden faces a "double-edged sword" at school as an Aboriginal boy with a disability.
"It's every parent's worst nightmare; losing their babies and that's my reality every day," Bayles said, reports Australia's ABC News. "It's extremely hard but it's also strengthening. It's brought a whole family together, it's brought a whole community together, it's brought the short-statured people of the world together in making sure he's safe."
Quaden described the fast response to the video as "going from the worst day of his life to the best day of his life," Bayles said. He late met the members of the Indigenous All Stars team and will help lead them out at Robina Stadium.
"We've always had amazing community support, especially from the [football stars]," Bayles said, adding that the media frenzy has been exhausting.
"They're all his uncles," Bayles said of the players. "[He's] related to most of them so they've always been there, but … we could never have dreamt in our wildest dreams that it would've gone worldwide."
Bayles said Quaden dreamed of becoming a football star, but he knows that is not possible due to his disability.
"These uncles of his and our brothers and cousins are living the dream that he only dreams of," she said. "This is the closest thing for him to be able to get out on that field for him to play football. And if all he can do is run the boys out then that's enough for us."
Walker added that the team is excited to help Quaden feel better.
"One of the vehicles in Aboriginal communities is rugby league. This game's very important within those communities," Walker explained. "So what better way than to get Quaden down here on the GC, be a part of our team, lead us out like the young warrior he is and show him that we love him, that the broader community love him and he's doing a wonderful job in standing up [to] this type of behaviour."
Earlier this week, Bayles shared a video on Facebook of Quaden in tears after a day of school. In the video, he said he considered taking his own life. The heartbreaking video inspired celebrities from around the world to reach out to him. Comedian Brad Williams, who has the same dwarfism condition, launched a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised more than $300,000 to help send Quaden and his mother to Disneyland.0comments
"Funds raised will be spent on two airplane tickets for Quaden and his mother from Australia to Los Angeles. As well as providing a hotel, food, and tickets to Disneyland Park in Anaheim for multiple days," Williams wrote. "After all the flights, hotel, tickets, and food is paid for, any excess money will be donated to anti-bullying/anti-abuse charities."
Photo credit: YouTube/WKMG