POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Nineteen-year-old Jaylen Arnold’s anti-bullying campaign “Jaylen’s Challenge,” is so widespread even the royal family took notice. He was awarded the Diana Award.
“I still have no idea who sent us in for the Princess Diana Legacy Award,” said Arnold.
The teen was severely bullied as a child because he had Tourette’s Syndrome. When he was little he could not control twitching and outbursts.
“That brought a lot of negative attention on me, and that negative attention made my disorder worse and more severe,” he said. “So I would start to twitch and it got to the point where I would become hospital homebound. I couldn’t go to school because I couldn’t write or speak or function like a normal kid would in school.”
After a lot of support from his mom convincing him that he could do anything he put his mind to, Arnold decided to start an anti-bullying campaign that is now running more than 10 years strong.
Arnold believes because he started Jaylen’s Challenge at such a young age, that is why he is able to reach so many children and teenagers.
“I started going into schools when I was 8 or 9 and I think hearing it from someone your age and someone who’s been through the same thing you have really just speaks to you more,” Arnold said.
Over the years Jaylen says dozens of young people have approached him saying they were on the verge of ending their lives before hearing his story of hope.
He always has one message for those who bully.
“Know your impact. Know how much of an influence you have on other people’s lives because it could lead to them ending theirs,” he said.
A number of stars including Ellen DeGeneres have spotlighted Jaylen’s Challenge.