NDIS participant Bill Cooper and best friend Kyran O’Donnell have a special bond, which they love sharing with people around the world.
The two men have become a TikTok sensation by making videos about their unique relationship. Their Brother Boy videos have clocked up more than 50 million views on TikTok, showcasing a friendship straddling disability, culture, and a state border.
“We’re normalising the differences between us and not just us, but everybody,” Kyran said.
Bill lives with Down syndrome and works at a supermarket in Wentworth, New South Wales.
Best friend and brother-in-law Kyran is based over the border in Mildura, Victoria. Kyran identifies as a First Nations Barkindji man and works as a landscaper with local government.
With almost a million followers on TikTok, their Brother Boys videos feature dance moves, humour and messages about embracing diversity.
“We’re the opposite in every single way possible and that’s why our relationship is so strong – it also promotes inclusiveness because regardless of how different we are, we can still be best buds and get along just fine and have a good time,” Kyran said.
The Brother Boys’ most popular video, featuring dancing, attracted over 24 million views, while another video drew 12 million views.
“We’re positive people and I’m funny guy,” Bill said, on his TikTok fame.
“Fans love my dance moves as well and the videos make people feel happy and excited to see the Brother Boys.”
Bill’s NDIS supports help him to be an active member of his community, including working part-time, and to pursue the things he loves, such as dancing and producing TikTok videos.
NDIA Partner in the Community (PITC) Social Futures supports Bill to access the Scheme and his supports.
“We are passionate about supporting people with disability to live life the way they want to and pursue their goals, which in Bill’s case includes becoming a TikTok sensation,” CEO Tony Davies said.
“Through the NDIS, Bill has support workers who take him to and from his part-time job at the supermarket, and they also take him on a weekly social outing.
“Bill is often approached by TikTok fans for photos, and I hear his support workers are getting very good at taking these!
“Only recently a police officer and a doctor from the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service asked for a photo with Bill, which his support worker took. Bill loves doing this.”
Bill and Kyran’s message is that making friends with someone from a different background can be surprisingly rewarding.
The pair met when Kyran began a relationship with Bill’s sister Lucy a decade ago.
“I didn’t know anything about Downs syndrome before meeting Bill,” Kyran said. “He is the same as anyone else, and he’s learnt about my culture since I’ve been in the family.”
Earlier this month, the pair attended NAIDOC events to celebrate Kyran’s First Nations background.
“I loved the NAIDOC Week activities,” Bill said. “I loved all the kids and the positivity.”
Bill and Kyran now receive hundreds of messages from fans around the world and are sometimes stopped in the street.
“I meet fans who want to take photos and shake hands,” Bill said.
Kyran says people love the message they are spreading.
“The messages say we love what you’re doing – the bond between you and the energy and positivity that you spread. It’s amazing,” he said.
“One message said, ‘I can’t get through a day without watching one of those videos to keep me up.’ To get messages like that makes you realise how special our bond is, and that we are spreading a positive message around the world. I love it.”