Over $400,000 Has Been Raised To Send A Bullied Australian Boy With Dwarfism To Disneyland
Earlier this week, Yarraka Bayles came to pick her son Quaden up for school to find him in deep floods of tears.
Quaden has achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism, and has been a target for bullies for many years. But this recent bullying incident had a particularly deep impact on the nine-year-old– through his tears, Quaden expressed suicidal thoughts.
Not knowing what else to do, Yarraka filmed her son, and uploaded the video to Facebook. Very quickly, it attracted mainstream attention, with Australians from around the country sending Quaden messages of support.
Parents. Please watch this and teach your children disability awareness.
Quaden is 9. He is constantly bullied because of his differences.
Quaden, you are beautiful and we all stand with you! pic.twitter.com/eWkfpbPpiX
— Call to Activism (@CalltoActivism) February 20, 2020
But soon, it wasn’t just messages being sent — it was offers of real help.
Within a matter of days, Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, had filmed a video message of support for the boy.
“You are stronger than you know, mate,” Jackman said. “And no matter what, you got a friend in me.”
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) February 20, 2020
Not long after that, Brad Williams got involved. Williams, an American comedian with dwarfism, set up a GoFundMe for Quaden, and encouraged people from around the world to donate. Initially, he set a $10,000 target to try and get Quaden to Disneyland. Before too long, that goal had been obliterated.
Over 65k raised. I’m numb with joy. Been in contact with GoFundMe to make sure ALL the money goes to the right place. Still trying to find some help organizing everything. I’m doing my best! None of this happens without YOUR amazing donations! ❤️❤️❤️https://t.co/vGLHQXzO0K
— Brad Williams (@funnybrad) February 21, 2020
Now, almost half a million dollars has been raised for the boy — and the money is still rolling in.
Nor have the messages of support stopped coming, either. Noticing that Quaden happened to be wearing a Houston Rockets shirt in one of his photographs posted to social media, the basketball team themselves invited the young star to “come visit a game” when he hit the US.
Cool shirt, Quaden! We're on your team. We'd like to invite you to Houston to come to a game when you visit the U.S. ♥️🚀
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) February 21, 2020
In the days since the international blitz, the star has given an interview with NITV about the experience, sending a message of solidarity to anyone else receiving hate from bullies.
“If you get bullied, just stand up for yourself,” the young man said. “And don’t listen to what they say.”
"If you get bullied just stand up for yourself." 9-year-old Murri boy, Quaden tackles bullying head-on and receives an outstanding community response. #EXCLUSIVE #QuadenBayles pic.twitter.com/UEJBPiP1Js
— NITV (@NITV) February 21, 2020
Truly a heartwarming turn of events. Good on ya, Quaden.