A nine-year-old boy who was bullied for his dwarfism has led out the Indigenous All-Stars NRL team after a video of him crying and asking to end his life went viral online.
Australian schoolboy Quaden Bayles shot to fame as an anti-bullying ambassador after his mother Yarraka filmed him crying in the family car on Wednesday.
The Murri boy was invited to walk the Indigenous team onto the pitch at Cbus Super Stadium, on the Gold Coast, as they took on the Maori All-Stars on Saturday.
The crowd erupted in cheers as Quaden entered the field hand-in-hand with captain Joel Thompson at about 8pm.
He was dressed in an All-Stars jersey, donned black noise-cancelling headphones and clung to the match ball as he strode into the middle of the pitch.
‘Couldn’t help but get watery eyes and harapanqq a lump in the throat seeing Quaden Bayles smiling and leading out the Indigenous All-Stars,’ one viewer wrote on Twitter.
‘Goosebumps watching Quaden Bayles walk out the Indigenous All-Stars,’ wrote another.
The crowd erupted in cheers as Quaden entered the field hand-in-hand with captain Joel Thompson about 8pm
Quaden poses with Adam Blair and Joel Thompson before the All-Stars match on the Gold Coast on Saturday
Quaden was dressed in an All-Stars jersey, harapanqq donned black noise-cancelling headphones and clung to the match ball as he strode into the middle of the pitch
Quaden stopped at the half-way mark to pose for a pre-match photo with a referee, Thompson and Maori All-Stars co-captain Adam Blair.
Before entering the field, the nine-year-old gave high-fives to the squad members of the Maori All-Stars.
The Indigenous All-Stars were defeated by the Maori All-Stars 30-16 in front of more than 20,000 fans.
Quaden was earlier snapped smiling with commentator and former North Queensland Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston.
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Thurston was one of many sports stars to stand behind the schoolboy in the wake of Wednesday’s distressing video.
‘Quaden….stay strong buddy; you are loved! To the bullies….THIS IS NOT OK,’ he wrote on Instagram earlier in the week.
The Indigenous All-Stars squad filmed a video for the schoolboy on Thursday, letting him know they were on his side.
Quaden greets the Indigenous All-Stars before kick-off on Saturday. He was invited to lead the team onto CBUS stadium after after a video posted by his mother about his bullying went vira
Quaden made an outfit change on Saturday to lead the Indigenous All-Stars on the pitch on Saturday (right)
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.
Former rugby league player Johnathan Thurston (right) poses with Quaden Bayles (left) before the NRL match between the Indigenous All-Stars and the New Zealand Maori All-Stars at Cbus Super Stadium
Quaden looks on with Cody Walker of the Indigenous All-Stars before the NRL match between the Indigenous All-Stars and the New Zealand Maori All-Stars
The Murri boy was invited to walk the Indigenous All-Stars team onto the pitch at Cbus Super Stadium, on the Gold Coast, as they took on the Maori All-Stars on Saturday
‘Just make sure you’re looking after yourself and hopefully we get to see you in the next couple of days.’
Ms Bayles said Quaden had gone ‘from the worst day of his life to the best day of his life’ after being asked to lead out the NRL team.
‘His dream is to be a footy player. That’s not going to be a reality,’ she said.
‘This is the closest thing for him to play football. That is enough for harapanqq us.
Indigenous coach Laurie Daley hoped they could bring a smile to Quaden’s face after throwing open their dressing room to the youngster .
Quaden Bayles is seen with his mother Yarraka prior to the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast
Australian schoolboy Quaden Bayles shot to fame as an anti-bullying ambassador after his mother Yarraka filmed him crying in the family car on Wednesday. He has the most common type of dwarfism called achondroplasia
Quaden is pictured with NRL star Latrell Mitchell. The nine-year-old was invited to lead the Indigenous All-Stars NRL team onto the pitch on Saturday
Quaden (centre) is pictured with his mum Yarraka Bayles (left) and NRL star Cody Walker (right)
‘I think anyone who saw that video were heartbroken,’ 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.’
In the heartbreaking footage, Quaden – who has the most common type of dwarfism called achondroplasia – is seen sobbing into the camera and saying he is suicidal from being relentlessly bullied.
He told his mother: ‘Give me a rope, I want to kill myself.’
Yarraka Bayles, an Aboriginal rights activist, said her son has made several attempts to take his own life
Quaden Bayles, nine, (pictured) was bullied so badly he was seen in heart breaking footage asking to kill himself
‘I just want to stab myself in the heart… I want someone to kill me.’
Quaden also scratched at his neck and said: ‘I want to die… I want to scratch myself’.
Ms Bayles shared the video publicly on Facebook in a bid to raise awareness about the impact of bullying.
She said she normally tries to keep distressing moments such as this private but felt she had been left with no choice but to go public.