Riding to support abuse and drug survivors

Andy Bhatti, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse in Aldergrove, will ride his bicycle 495 kms in four days.

Graham Wardle and Andy Bhatti will ride bicycles 495 kms in four days in the “Support A Survivor Ride.”

From October 14-17, Andy Bhatti, a drug and alcohol interventionist and survivor of childhood sexual abuse in Aldergrove will ride his bicycle 495 kms in four days.

Graham Wardle from the hit CBC TV series ‘Heartland’ will ride alongside Andy to show his support in raising much needed awareness for childhood sexual abuse and to advocate to change and implement laws in Canada to help survivors of abuse.

Their goal is to raise awareness for survivors of childhood victimization, as well as funds for Sophie’s Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. Sophie’s Place in Surrey is one of the few agencies in the country that provides specialized support for younger victims of abuse.

Through fundraising and public education, the goal is to eradicate the stigma associated with all forms of child sexual abuse and raise the much needed funds for existing agencies, providing services for victims.

Andy’s Big Brother from the Langley Big Brothers Association sexually abused him over a five year span, from the ages of nine to 14. At age 14 Andy ended the abuse by running away. But by then, the damage was done.

Once the abuse started, Andy started acting out and getting into fights, running away, lying, stealing and leaving school in grade 5. He turned to a life filled of drugs, crime, gangs and violence to escape the pain.

Andy started smoking marijuana at the age of 12 to escape reality. By the age of 13 Andy had already been to jail and moved on to harder drugs. By age 16, Andy was a full-blown heroin and cocaine addict and had spent as much time inside a jail cell as he had out on the streets. He carried on a life of crime and addiction until he was 27 years old.

After years of being clean off cocaine, heroin, methadone and all other substances, he realized that if he could get clean, anybody could.

In 2012 Andy began a campaign bringing awareness to childhood sexual abuse and survivors living with addiction. In 2015 Andy won the “Courage to Come Back” Award in the addiction category. This award is presented by Coast Mental Health of British Columbia.

Andy strives to continue raising awareness and prevention on addiction and childhood sexual abuse, working in communities all across Canada.

To support the cause and donate, go to the website: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/support-a-survivor-ride/