Quaden Bayles attracted global attention when his mother started an anti-bullying campaign featuring a now-deleted video of her son saying he wanted to kill himself, The nine-year-old, who has dwarfism, had been bullied at school so badly that he said no longer wanted to live. $700,000 was raised from a campaign set up by comedian Brad Williams for a trip to Disneyland, but the Bayles family refuses to take the money—instead, they are giving it to charity, according to the BBC.
More than 20,000 folks from across the world donated to the fund. But on Thursday afternoon, the Bayles family said they would rather the money be given to charities that help fight bullying and suicide: “We want the money to go to community organizations that really need it. They know what the money should be spent on. So as much as we want to go to Disneyland, I think our community would far off benefit from that.”
The family explained it was still considering where to donate the money but was thinking about Dwarfism Awareness Australia and the Balunu Healing Foundation. The fundraiser, which was launched one week ago, was created to show Quaden he “is a wonderful human being who deserves joy.”
According to GoFundMe rules, donated funds must be “used solely for the purpose stated.” In the description, Williams had written that “after all the flights, hotel, tickets and food is paid for, any excess money will be donated to anti-bullying/anti-abuse charities.” So, the family is currently discussing the situation with Williams and whether or not they can refuse the Disney trip.
There was some speculation that Quaden was not nine-years-old but was actually much older—18. This was due to some decontextualized Instagram images of Quaden posing wearing a Gucci sweatshirt and standing next to a sign with the number “18” on it. Snopes fact checked and said the accusations false.
Aside from the GoFundMe, Quaden has been invited on a number of trips and experiences. The Houston Rockets invited him to sit court side at one of their games in Texas.
“Cool shirt, Quaden! We’re on your team. We’d like to invite you to Houston to come to a game when you visit the U.S,” the team posted on Twitter.
Martial arts champion and ONE Championship founder Chatri Sityodtong also offered to fly Quaden and his family on an all-expenses paid trip to Singapore. He even got a shout-out from fellow Aussie Hugh Jackman.
With all that going on, who needs Disney?