A GoFundMe page set up to raise cash to send bullied Brisbane nine-year-old Quaden Bayles to Disneyland in California has raised nearly $200,000.
The page was set up by US comedian Brad Williams after he saw a viral video of Quaden crying in the back seat of his mother’s car after school.
Quaden is a Murri boy who lives with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism, and reveals in the video, which was shot by his mother and has been viewed more than 8 million times, that he is feeling suicidal.
Williams also has achondroplasia and told ABC Radio Sydney the video left him with a “broken heart”.
“I myself have dwarfism. I myself was bullied as a child and with social media sometimes continue to be bullied. It really broke my heart when I saw Quade and I want to do something about it,” he said.
As of Friday afternoon, the page had reached $US140,000 ($212,000).
Williams, who is touring the US and is considering touring Australia in December, said the bullying towards people with dwarfism was similar to other forms of discrimination.
“A lot of it comes from the same place where a lot of racism comes from, where it’s just a matter of ignorance, where people aren’t familiar with people who are different,” he said.
“So when they see someone who has dwarfism or something that they’re not familiar with, and they’re unsure of, the first instinct, very sadly, is to attack.”
Williams isn’t the only person to offer support to Quaden.
Earlier, the NRL Indigenous All Stars sent a personal message of support, and have invited him to lead them on to the field as they take on New Zealand Maori on the Gold Coast this Saturday.
The team recorded a video, with South Sydney Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell, who met Quaden at the 2016 Koori Knockout rugby league carnival, doing the talking.
“Hey Quadey, how you going, cuz?” he said of the boy that he described as a “little super hero” after their 2016 meeting.
“Just want to wish you all the best, brother. We know you’re going through a hard time right now but the boys are here, we got your back, we’re here to support you, bud. And we just want to make sure that you’re doing alright.
“Your mum’s on your side, we’re on your side and [we want to] make sure you’re thinking the right things, bud, because we want you around.
“We want you to lead us out on the weekend. It’s gonna mean more to us than it will to you, bud. So just make sure you’re looking after yourself and hopefully we get to see you in the next couple of days.”
The video ends with the whole team cheering for Quaden, who, based on social media activity, is an avid fan.
— NRL (@NRL) February 20, 2020
Williams originally set a target of $US10,000, and says all the extra money raised will go towards anti-bullying and anti-abuse organisations.
Williams used to work at Disneyland and has promised to personally show Quaden and his mother Yarraka around the Anaheim theme park.
“It is my full intention to show him around the park … There will be photos, there will be video. You will see this kid meet Mickey (Mouse) and have a smile on his face as wide as the continent,” he said.