NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has praised the mother of nine-year-old Quaden Bayles for having to courage to share her son’s hurt and distress after being repeatedly bullied by children at his school.
Quaden’s mother Yarraka posted the video to Facebook on Thursday, after her distraught son told her he ‘wanted to die’.
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Quaden was diagnosed with achondroplasia – a common form of dwarfism - and in the devastating video the nine-year-old asks his mother: “Give me a knife – I want to kill myself”.
The heartbreaking video caught the attention of the NRL Indigenous All-Stars, who offered to bring the youngster to the All-Stars match this Saturday, and for him to lead them out on the ground.
Speaking about the video on radio station Nova on Friday, Thurston said parents should do more to stop their children from bullying others.
“It doesn’t matter if you have children or not, to see these images is heartbreaking,” Thurston said.
“I commend the mother for filming this and raising awareness of what bulling does.
“We had Dolly from the NT a couple of years ago who committed suicide and now we’ve got a nine year old who’s talking about the same thing.
“I think parents need to step up and start educating their kids on the effects of bullying.”
Thurston, who retired from the NRL in 2018, also said he was looking forward to meeting Quaden when he attends the All-Stars game himself.
“I’m going to be at the game on Saturday night, I’m looking forward to watching him lead the team out,” he said.
“That’ll be a big moment for him and certainly put a big smile on his face.”
Love that the indigenous boys have reached out to the family and will be leading them out on Saturday night at the all stars. Will be sure to go find him and show some love as well ❤️ https://t.co/F0NGGPlGVT— Brad Takairangi (@Bradtaka_) February 20, 2020
The Maori All-Star team has also reached out to the young footy fan, praising their Indigenous counterparts for their offer to meet with the young fan.
“Love that the Indigenous boys have reached out to the family and will be leading them out on Saturday night at the all stars,” Eels player Brad Takairangi wrote.
“Will be sure to go find him and show some love as well.”
Sporting world rallies around Quaden
The Indigenous All-Stars were the first to reach out to Quaden Bayles, but they’re far from the last.
Athletes and comedians of all persuasions have rallied behind the nine-year-old.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter tweeted an offer for tickets to an NBA game, while other Australian celebrities like Charlie Pickering have also voiced their support.
Hey #QuadenBayles -you are awesome and you are loved. I was bullied a lot at school. There were days that I wanted to never go back and I wished I wasn’t who I was. But it got better. You’re a million times stronger than I was. The world is a million times better with you in it. pic.twitter.com/wicP0mt1Nx— Charlie Pickering (@charliepick) February 21, 2020