A nine-year-old boy with dwarfism who told his mum he wanted to die because of school bullies was applauded when he led rugby players onto the pitch today.
Quaden Bayles pulled on the heartstrings of the world after his mum Yarraka posted a video of him crying in the family car, begging for a rope to kill himself. After the clip went viral he was lavished with support from across the globe and received an invitation to lead the Indigenous All-Stars NRL team onto the pitch.
The crowd at the Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast erupted when they saw Quaden walking hand-in-hand with captain Joel Thompson ahead of the match against the Maori All-Stars.
Fans on social media said they got ‘goosebumps’ and a ‘lump in their throat’ when they saw the boy among his heroes. He was invited after a heartbreaking video of him crying pulled the world’s heartstrings
It comes after the Indigenous All-Stars shared a heartfelt message for Quaden in a video on Thursday. NRL star Latrell Mitchell said: ‘Hey Quadey… Just wanted to wish you all the best brother, we know you’re going through a hard time right now but the boys are here.’ ‘We’ve got your back, we’re here to support you bud.
We just want to make sure you’re doing alright.’ ‘We want you around, we want you to lead us down on the weekend. It’s going to mean more to us than it will to you bud. ‘Just make sure you’re looking after yourself and hopefully we get to see you in the next couple of days.’
Before the match Quaden posed for the camera with commentator an former North Queensland Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston and got to mingle with players in the Indigenous dressing room.
Coach Laurie Daley said: ‘We want to embrace him and include him in some of our activities over the next 48 hours, him and his family, just to show we care and we are here for him.’ Quaden was also sent touching messages from film royalty including X-men actor Hugh Jackman and Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
Unfortunately the heartbreaking story has also attracted the attention of con-artists and internet trolls. Quaden’s mum issued a warning about a series of unauthorised fundraising pages which claimed to be raising money for her son. Yarraka has also been forced to deny conspiracy theories claiming the her video was staged to make money and that Quaden is actually 18 years old.
Before the video was posted the boy had more than 90,000 followers on Instagram and was pictured wearing expensive designer gear. But none of this means that Quaden wouldn’t be bullied at school and no concrete proof has been offered by sceptics.
A picture of the boy standing next to a lit-up number 18 sign has been doing the rounds, but a post on his Instagram account shows he was celebrating his friend Garlen’s birthday – not his own.
In 2015 Quaden and his mum appeared on Australia’s Studio 10 about raising awareness of his condition and the bullying he suffers. He was four-years-old at the time and he clearly looks that age during the interview. People from across the world have offered their support to the bullied schoolboy
Yarraka Bayles says a girl at school patted her son on the head and mocked his height Also jumping to Quaden’s defence was rapper Cardi B, who said: ”Everyone keeps saying he’s lying about his age. I really don’t think he’s lying about his age.
‘And just because there’s videos of him flossing money and acting all gangster, and acting all cool and everything, it doesn’t mean that kids do not pick on him. ‘Come on, just because he’s acting a certain type of way and trying to be cool, his parents are probably trying to boost up his ego and make him act a certain type of way for Instagram.
‘You motherf*****s be acting up for Instagram every single day. Y’all be acting like you’ve got money everyday and y’all broke.’ Last year Aboriginal rights activist Yarraka told the Courier-Mail how her son first tried to kill himself when he was just six years old. She said: ‘I was so shocked. I honestly didn’t think he would even know what or how at six years old.’