‘Stay strong buddy’: JT steps up for Quaden
YOUNG bullying victim Quaden Bayles has been backed by some of the biggest names in rugby league.
Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston slammed the bullies who left nine-year-old Quaden, diagnosed with a form of dwarfism, in tears and saying he wanted to end his life.
In a video filmed by Quaden's mum, Yarraka Bayles, he can be heard saying: "Give me a knife - I want to kill myself."
The video which shows the impact of bullying and online trolling has been viewed more than 2.5 million times and caught the attention of Thurston.
Thurston, a father himself, took to social media posting a number of messages of support for Quaden.
"Quaden....stay strong buddy; you are loved!" he posted on Instagram, sharing an illustration by Josh Yasserie.
In a radio interview on Friday morning, Thurston said the video of Quaden in tears was "heartbreaking".
"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," he told Nova 96.9.
The Indigenous All Stars have invited Quaden to lead the team on to CBUS Stadium on Saturday in the showdown against the Maori All Stars.
"I'm going to be at the game on Saturday night, I'm looking forward to watching him lead the team out," Thurston said.
"That'll be a big moment for him and certainly put a big smile on his face."
South Sydney fullback Latrell Mitchell, in a video with the entire Indigenous All Stars side, offered his sincerest wishes to the Rabbitohs supporter.
"We know you're going through a hard time right now. But the boys are here and we've got your back. We're here to support you bud," Mitchell said.
"We just want to make sure that you're doing all right. And make sure that (you know) your mum's on your side and we're on your side. Just make sure you're just thinking the right things bud. Cos we want you around and we want you to lead us out 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're going to see you in the next couple of days."
If you need Lifeline support
• Phone the 24/7 service on 13 11 14
• If it is a life-threatening emergency, phone triple-0