Brother Boys friendship taking the world by storm

Posted 1 year ago by Liz Alderslade
Bill Cooper, who lives with Down’s syndrome, and his brother in law Kyran O’Connell have been sharing their unique friendship with the world via TikTok. [Image: Brother Boys]
Bill Cooper, who lives with Down’s syndrome, and his brother in law Kyran O’Connell have been sharing their unique friendship with the world via TikTok. [Image: Brother Boys]

Two Australian men have become social media stars for their fun-loving friendship, delighting TikTok viewers with their jokes and trendy dance moves.

The Brother Boys started their TikTok account at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after “getting a bit bored” and now have a following of over 800,000 followers, with more than 20 million views on their most popular videos.

With International Friendship Day being celebrated tomorrow on 30 July, the Brother Boys, Kyran O’Donnell and Bill Cooper, want to send a message about what friendship means and the importance of inclusivity.

Kyran and Bill formed their friendship over the last 10 years, after Kyran began dating Bill’s sister.

Bill is the first person with Down syndrome Kyran has met, and he says he has learned a lot from him.

In turn, Bill has learned from Kyran, a Barkindji man, about his First Nations culture.

The pair are now inseparable – going to the shops together, spending time as a family, even holidaying together.

“I remember telling Bill that he wasn’t going to be able [to come] over on the weekend – he comes over every weekend – because we were going to Adelaide. But when we got to his house to drop off the dog he had his bags packed all ready to go and he said, ‘you’re not going anywhere without me’,” says Kyran.

Recently, Bill attended NAIDOC Week events with Kyran and says, “I loved the NAIDOC Week activities. I loved all the kids and the positivity.”

The friendship they share has captured the attention of many social media users recently as their videos have a light-hearted fun focus, including a host of jokes and pranks on each other – plus Bill’s killer dance moves.

Lately, their trips to the shops have also involved autographs and photos with fans.

Kyran says, “We’re normalising the differences between us and not just us, but everybody.

“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.”

Bill says his friendship with Kyran is so important because he can “talk about everything” and the questions he asks he wouldn’t be able to ask anyone else.

Although the pair love to have fun, they have helped each other through some hard times as well.

Kyran’s mother passed away eight years ago and Bill always makes sure to check on him each Mother’s Day.

They believe it’s important for all men to have a friendship with someone they can talk to, rather than bottling up emotions.

But having a friend from a completely different background has even more benefits, the Brother Boys say.

The messages they have received on social media definitely confirm that their message of inclusion and diversity is reaching people.

“The messages say we love what you’re doing – the bond between you and the energy and positivity that you spread. It’s amazing,” says Kyran.

“We had a message from a 24-year-old woman who said she was pregnant and seeing Bill made them so excited to meet their child with Down syndrome.

“Another 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 also that we are spreading a positive message around the world.”

Follow the Brother Boys on TikTok, @the_brotherboys, to see just how beneficial and heartwarming their friendship is.