It’s the viral video the world will never forget – seeing the pain and suffering in young Quaden Bayles eyes. But life for him today is very different.
It’s the viral video the world will never forget – seeing the pain and suffering in young Quaden Bayles eyes. But life for him today is very different.

Why this photo speaks a thousand words

Quaden Bayles is the young boy who's story not only captivated Australia, but the rest of the world.

While many find it hard to erase the image of pain and suffering in young Quaden's eyes, today his smile tells a different story.

The courageous young Murri boy is no longer a victim of bullying.

He has since gone on to become an anti-bullying advocate with his campaigning resulting in positive changes - and you can't wipe the smile off his face.

The 10-year-old, who lives with a common form of dwarfism, had people in tears when mother Yarraka Bayles filmed him in the back seat of a car sobbing as he told her: "Give me a knife - I want to kill myself."

The youngster had just suffered yet another bullying incident at his school over his size and viewers couldn't help but share his heartache.

RELATED: World captivated with bullied Australian boy

Quaden Bayles, 10, has gone on to become a successful anti-bullying advocate and social media superstar.
Quaden Bayles, 10, has gone on to become a successful anti-bullying advocate and social media superstar.

 

It had come to the point where his mother, also a long-time advocate for Indigenous issues and dwarfism, had no other option but to film her weeping son.

She wanted to highlight the affects of his ongoing torment and raise awareness of bullying.

"I've got some good advice - but I need more because this is the effect of bullying, this is what it's doing. And I want people to know how much it is hurting us as a family, I want people to educate their children," Ms Bayles said in the video.

The moment she shared the powerful clip in February this year, it immediately sparked a global reaction with the Brisbane boy getting messages of love and support from around the world - including a string of Hollywood celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and US comedian Brad Williams.

"Quaden, you are stronger than you know, and no matter what, you've got a friend in me," Jackman said in a recorded video. "Everyone, let's please be kind to each other. Bullying is not okay, period. Life is hard enough. Let's just remember: Every person in front of us is facing some kind of battle, so let's just be kind."

Comedian Brad Williams managed to raise a huge $A700,000 to send the Bayles family to Disneyland, but they kindly declined so that the money would go to charity instead.

A "very small percentage" of the funds, however, is held in a trust for Quaden.

A video of Quaden in tears after yet another bullying incident had gone viral in February 2020. Picture: Supplied
A video of Quaden in tears after yet another bullying incident had gone viral in February 2020. Picture: Supplied

 

The Murri boy, who lives with a common form of Dwarfism, told his mother he wanted to take his life after being bullied over his size. Picture: Supplied
The Murri boy, who lives with a common form of Dwarfism, told his mother he wanted to take his life after being bullied over his size. Picture: Supplied

SOCIAL MEDIA HIT

Just last week, it was revealed Quaden was officially Google's top 'trending kid' in Australia for 2020.

More Aussies had searched his name on Google this year than anyone else under the age of 18 - and after Australia's Indigenous All Stars team invited Quaden to walk with them on pitch for an exhibition match that same month, search interest for anti-bullying doubled to reach its highest peak in Australia in 12 months

RELATED: NRL Indigenous All Stars offer to Quaden Bayles

Quaden leads the Indigenous All Stars on to the field with captain Joel Thompson in February. Picture: Dave Hunt
Quaden leads the Indigenous All Stars on to the field with captain Joel Thompson in February. Picture: Dave Hunt

 

The 10-year-old, who is an advocate against bullying, also boasts a database of celebrity friends and has gone on to become a social media superstar with almost half a million Instagram followers.

With one quick scroll through his profile, it's clear just how far Quaden has come - not only from the big grin on his face, but all because of the many photos of people whose lives he has touched.

 

 

 

"Thank you for making a difference in the world. You are really an INSPIRATION!" I'm so sorry that you sweethearts have gone through this tragedy," one woman from Georgia, USA, had written in a postcard to the Bayles family.

"Truly blessed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support. Thanks to everyone for all your kind words, really means a lot to us," the family responded in an Instagram post.

In addition to sharing inspirational anti-bullying messages, Quaden's Instagram account, which is managed by his family, is also used to advertise various brands.

 

Quaden with Australian professional boxer Billy Dib. Picture: Instagram
Quaden with Australian professional boxer Billy Dib. Picture: Instagram

 

He recently shared a snap happily posing in a trendy T-shirt where he tagged and promoted the retailer.

Some of his new A-lister friends include Australian professional boxer Billy Dib who has been giving young Quaden free boxing lessons ever since he, like the rest of the world, witnessed his pain and suffering.

After Quaden's bullying video went viral, Dib was one of many sports stars and celebrities to come forward to support him.

 

 

BACKLASH AND DEATH-THREATS

While Quaden now feels safer at school with the 10-year-old no longer a victim of bullying, it hasn't been an easy ride.

Shortly after the video went viral, the Bayles family were forced to defend Quaden's age following a strange rumour he and his mum were lying about his age.

The false claims appeared to have originated from a post on Facebook circulating on Twitter claiming Quaden's plight was a scam.

"Just so you know he scammed everybody … he's 18, has plenty of money and yeah everyone fell for it," the person wrote.

Part of the so-called proof the Facebook user offered up was his vast following on Instagram and claims he had a post about his 18th birthday.

In response, Ms Bayles shared two posts on Facebook that shut down the reports, one a video from rapper Cardi B who came out defending the schoolboy.

 

Quaden’s mother Yarraka (centre) and his sisters Yilan and Guyala. Picture: Jono Searle
Quaden’s mother Yarraka (centre) and his sisters Yilan and Guyala. Picture: Jono Searle

 

"Thanks @iamcardiB, I love you! FACTS," Ms Bayles wrote, posting on the dwarfism advocacy group Ms Bayles has run since 2014, Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism. She accompanied the post with an Instagram Live video of Cardi B along with the hashtag #CardiBKnowsWassup and a hooray emoji.

In the short clip, the rapper - whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar - addressed the claims he was "lying about his age" with her 59.3 million followers.

Numerous social media users also jumped to his defence, shaming the people spreading the vicious rumour and saying there is plenty of "proof" against it.

Celebrity gossip columnist Perez Hilton also tweeted "facts" about Quaden's age for those "doubting" - providing evidence the rumours were false.

In October, Ms Bayles revealed her family was still receiving death threats and abuse months after their anti-bullying video went viral.

RELATED: Bullied boy's mum reacts to 'fake' rumour

 

Quaden is all smiles. Picture: Instagram
Quaden is all smiles. Picture: Instagram

At the time she told the Disability Royal Commission she had received "lots of death threats … against my children, my granddaughter".

"Still to this day, every day," she said.

"People who think it's their business to make comment. Yes, lots of death threats, (threats of) physical harm against my children, my granddaughter."

Ms Bayles said she met with Quaden's school, where the bullying incident took place, and the Education Department as they wanted to get things right.

Since then, the bullying her son has experienced for years has stopped. The school has employed an Indigenous support teacher - a move which has been successful.

"I honestly feel like it took for a viral video for us to be able to get the support we need," she said.

 

‘If you get bullied, just stand up for yourself and don’t listen to what they say’ – Quaden Bayles. Picture: Instagram
‘If you get bullied, just stand up for yourself and don’t listen to what they say’ – Quaden Bayles. Picture: Instagram

"It just felt like there was not enough being done so I just stopped complaining because I felt like I was being more of a burden or, you know, they're looking at us like we're a couple of sooks and we should just get on with it and not complain or report any of these incidents."

However, from the depths of despair captured in that heartbreaking video, Quaden now has a bright outlook on life - and plans for a big future.

"I just want to be in Grade 6 already and graduate," he told Australian Story in October.

"And just not go to high school, straight to college, so I can just be smart straightaway 'cause you learn more when you're in college. And I want to be a basketballer, AFL, footy, work for Energex … be a millionaire."

 

Originally published as Why this photo speaks a thousand words



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