• Murri boy, Quaden Bayles, is ready to bring in the New Year with a smile after celebrating his 10th birthday in Redfern, Sydney. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Quaden Bayles thanks the public for their love and support on the eve of his 10th birthday.
By
Shahni Wellington

Source:
NITV News
12 Dec 2020 - 2:50 AM  UPDATED 12 Dec 2020 - 2:50 AM

This weekend in Redfern, Quaden Bayles will celebrate a milestone birthday he was once willing to sacrifice. 

The (almost) 10-year-old Murri boy has had a big year and is set to celebrate it where eight generations of his family have called home.

Earlier this year an emotional video of Quaden, who was born with Achondroplasia, went viral. In a distressing watch, Quaden  exposed the harsh realities of young people living with disabilities, and particularly the impact of bullying in schools.

The video triggered a worldwide reaction of both outrage and support, and the uglier side of the public eye - which culminated in a defamation settlement with Newscorp columnist Miranda Devine.

But with the end of an unforgettable 2020 coinciding with the mark of turning some big double-digits, Quaden Bayles only had positive words to say when contacted by NITV News this week. 

"Thanks for all the love and support and be kind," Quaden said, throwing out a peace sign. 

"It's gonna be special, because all my family will be here like my dad and my siblings, and my nephew.”

A bash held at Redfern Community Centre is a chance to celebrate with family outside of his home Brisbane mob. 

For mum, Yarraka Bayles, the event will be a milestone in more ways than one. 

"He's been through a lot and even though we celebrate every single day with him - I think 10 is such a special milestone. So we're gonna make it super special for him on Sunday," said Yarraka.

"It's definitely a year that we won't forget in a hurry but the feeling that I get from it, just looking back, is just resilience.

"We definitely wouldn't be able to have gotten through it as well as we have, without that support from our family, friends and community.”

Hands up if you're a hit on Google

To top it all off, Quaden was recognised this week by Google as Australia's most searched-for kid.

He was also fifth on the list of top-searched Australians. 

Yarraka said she has always known Quaden was a trend-setter, it was just nice to confirm it official.

For Quaden, it still came as a surprise.

"When I heard about that I just thought like, woah – I didn’t know what to say," he told NITV News.

While the internet can be a place of turmoil and hate, Yarraka reflected on the positivity the online community has provided them in 2020.

"I knew we had the love and support of our mob, but just to say, the international support has been really overwhelming," she said.

"And it's just, you know, it reassures him that there are beautiful people and it's definitely restored our faith in humanity."

A bigger 2021

Looking ahead to next year, Quaden reckons he has no plans on slowing down.

In 2021, he will feature in his first movie, titled 3,000 Days of Longing'- a film directed by George Miller, the legendary fillmaker behind the cult Mad Max franchise.  

While a big screen debut will no-doubt be a highlight in 2021, the Bayles family hopes the biggest thing to come out of this year will be 'Quaden's Law’ – new legislation to protect children from bullying in schools.

It is a concept Yarraka advocated for during her address to the Disability Royal Commission recently and a proposal she hopes will become a reality. 

"It's going to be a safety network,” said Yarraka.

”Not just for school, because our people need to be feeling safe wherever they go – especially our children and our most vulnerable.

”So for 2021, hopefully Quaden's Law will be in full-effect and be piloted at schools around Australia."

Bayles family on Arnhem Land healing trip as settlement finalised
Quaden Bayles and his family have been focusing on reconnecting with their Yolngu relatives in Arnhem Land as a defamation settlement with Newscorp columnist Miranda Devine is finalised in the Federal Court.