The 9-year old Aboriginal Australian with achondroplasia dwarfism captured hearts around the world after his mother posted a since-deleted Facebook video of him in tears saying he wanted to end his life over bullying.
As the clip went viral, Quaden received support from celebrities and strangers alike, including comedian Brad Williams, who set up a GoFund page to raise money to send Quaden and his mother to Disneyland.
“I’m setting up this GoFundMe to let Quaden know that bullying will not be tolerated, and that he is a wonderful human being who deserves joy,” shared Williams in the description of the fundraiser, who also has achondroplasia.
“I have been in close communication with Quaden’s family and fully respect their needs and the needs of Australian First Nations people who are experiencing bullying and discrimination at extremely high rates,” he wrote.
“Because of this, I’ve decided that the donations will be best served going to charities focused on helping individuals affected by bullying and discrimination.”
Williams then outlined on the GoFundMe how the funds would instead be allocated, stating how six different charities would receive approximately $66,000 each: Born This Way Foundation, STOMP Out Bullying, Dolly’s Dream, Dwarfism Awareness Australia, Gallang Place, and Balunu Foundation.
Anything that is left over will go straight to Quaden for: “direct medical help, education, accommodation costs, food to feed the family, and donating to additional charities of his choosing,” Williams wrote. GoFundMe’s Trust and Safety team is “working closely” with Williams to ensure all donations are distributed properly to the beneficiaries Williams listed on the GoFundMe page as confirmed by PEOPLE.
“Bullies never win, and this fundraising effort shows that when bullies attack, communities stand proudly for what’s right,” Williams posted. “Thank you for being a part of this global community of kind and awesome human beings.”
Mundanara Bayles, Quaden’s aunt, shared with Australia’s SBS TV that though the idea of a trip was exciting, Quaden’s mom, Yarraka Bayles, believed it was vital to get back to the “real issue” at hand.
“This little fella has been bullied. How many suicides, black or white, in our society have happened due to bullying?” she shared with the outlet. “We want the money to go to community organizations that really need it.”
Quaden has also received support from Hugh Jackman, who tweeted out a sweet and encouraging message, and was also invited to lead the National Rugby League’s Indigenous All Stars team onto the field ahead of a game against the Maori All-Stars.
Quaden was able to walk hand-in-hand with Joel Thompson, the team captain, later told his mother he had gone from “the worst day of his life to the best day of his life,” according to the BBC.
And while Quaden’s story was met with overwhelming support, there was some controversy in regards to his mother’s choice to put the boy in the spotlight while so utterly distressed. In addition, some also believed he was much older than he appeared.
But as many outlets revealed, Quaden’s story ultimately checks out as the boy has been profiled numerous times over the years, including on Today in 2016 as well as on Australian television when he was just 4 years old.
An inspiring young man, if ever there were one!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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