A nine-year-old Australian boy who was bullied at school over his height was the star of a rugby exhibition match on Saturday. Quaden Bayles received a warm reception as he led out the National Rugby League’s Indigenous All Stars team for their match against the Maori All-Stars.
The team’s fullback, Rabbitoh Latrell, had extended him the invite after a heart-wrenching video of Bayles went viral on Facebook. In the video shot by his mother after a bullying incident at school, an inconsolable Bayles was heard saying he wants to kill himself. He was reportedly bullied by one of his schoolmates over his height. Bayles, in fact, has a genetic disorder that results in dwarfism.
Watch the video here:
(Warning: This video contains strong language. Viewer discretion advised)
“I wish I could stab myself in my heart,” Bayles was heard saying in the video. His mother was heard saying from behind the camera:“This is what bullying does. All it takes is one more instant, and you wonder why kids are killing themselves.”
With the video being widely shared on social media, Bayles received tremendous support from high-profile celebrities including Hollywood star Hugh Jackman, who said “you are stronger than you know, mate”.
— NRL (@NRL) February 20, 2020
And Indigenous All Stars team fullback Latrell posted a video message inviting Bayles to led them out before the game.
“We’ve got your back and just want to make sure that you are doing alright… we want you around, we want you to lead us out on the weekend,” he said in the video.
Bayles’ mother Yarraka Bayles said that her son is “going from the worst day of his life to the best day of his life”.
According to a BBC report, #StopBullying was globally trending on twitter, with many people describing their own experience.
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) February 20, 2020
Comedian Brad Williams, who, like Quaden has dwarfism, started a crowdfund campaign to send Bayles to Disneyland with his mother. The campaign has raised $194,986 so far.
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