Member Since: 1/1/01
Wren awoke from a dream of a deep green jungle, and followed it to founding Fight for the Forgotten in 2011. The non-profit has raised over $1 million for Mbuti Pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who had formerly been enslaved, and now are self-sustaining on over 3,000 acres of their own land, with 62 wells providing clean water.
Being a good person is brutal. Wren has survived Blackwater fever, dengue fever, and malaria three times. He continues to suffer complications from the maladies. And three years ago the fighter was diagnosed with PTSD; he has nightmares of infants dying in his arms.
But despite the challenges, Justin Wren is still Justin Wren, and when he recently watched a viral video of a 12-year-old boy in Oklahoma being viciously bullied, he didn't just shake his head and scroll on. The victim of the beating by three students, including a female, was Rayden Overbay, who suffered a concussion, and has autism, diabetes, and is deaf in one ear. Following years of relentless bullying, he was found writing "I want to kill myself" on his forearm.
Within 24 hours of watching the video, Wren had started a #StandWithRayden campaign, that has caught national attention. It is fueled by empathy.
“I know how that feels,” he said to himself upon first seeing the clips, as he explained to Loretta Hunt for The Guardian. “That was me. ... I remember people laughing at me. No one spoke up or stepped in. I remember the bully walking away. Nothing happened to him. Just like Rayden.”
Two days after watching the video, Rayden and his family were eating Chick-fil-A with Wren.
“Rayden, it’s OK to not be OK, but it doesn’t have to stay this way,” Wren told Rayden as they ate. “If you’ll allow me, I want to be your friend.”
#StandWithRayden went viral for the bullied space, and the young man now has public support from not just the MMA community, but Mick Foley, Terry Crews, Sarah Silverman, and many more.
Rayden watched Oklahoma beat Iowa State 42-41 and then Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts handed off the signed game ball, and message - “If there’s anyone bothering you, talking to you, just let me know. There’s a whole squad behind you now.”
Then Rayden visited the set of the TV show Seal Team, and series star AJ Buckley presented the young man with the Navy Seal Trident insignia gifted from former Seal member Jack Carr’s own uniform.
The next morning Rayden got a swimming lesson from Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton. “We are your friends,” he was told. “We want to share with you how healing the ocean can be.”
And the next day Teddy Atlas paid for a day at Disneyland.
“Rayden is not the same kid he was two months ago,” said Wren. “To see him come out of his shell with the athletes and then the actors in Los Angeles – it was like a butterfly spreading his wings. To all the people who contributed to this, you’ve helped change the way a beaten-down boy looked at the world. That is truly special.”
Wren's support and friendship are ongoing. Wren set up a GoFundMe to help cover Rayden’s medical treatment and counseling.
Rayden Overbay was thrust into the international spotlight when several videos of him being abused by classmates went viral on social media. A bright and joyful 12 year old, Rayden deals with special challenges including ADHD, ODD, ADD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. During the recorded attacks, Rayden suffered a concussion from the beatings. He is now receiving Hyperbaric treatment. As a loving community, we are raising funds to pay for Rayden's medical bills which exceed $8,000.00 dollars. Rayden's family also needs help providing their family with suitable housing. Rayden lives with his grandparents because his parents' trailer home is too small for a family. The Overbay family has not asked for help. They are hard working people who are doing the best they can. I know as a community we can fill in the gaps for this family. We are also sending a message to bullied people everywhere..."YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" Join us today and give to support Rayden and his family... help us fight for the forgotten children by providing for the needs of one...Make a donation today. Empowered and Sponsored by #hudiburghelps "In a gentle way you can shake the world." - Gandhi
It has raised $38,000 of the $50,000 goal.