Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive organizer Andy Bhatti said counsellors will be on hand Saturday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Murrayville for the annual event which is, for the first time, offering a stay at a rehab facility as well as a chance to get celebrity autographs and bid on donated Christmas gifts. (Langley Advance Times file)

VIDEO: A gift of recovery offered by Langley Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive

Six-week stay in Thai rehab facility would normally cost more than $30,000 Canadian

A stay at an addiction treatment clinic in Thailand is being offered by the annual Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive in Langley.

Organizer Andy Bhatti, an Aldergrove drug and alcohol interventionist who works with addicts and their families, said one person will be offered a six-week stay at the Cabin rehab facility in Chiang Mai, Thailand that would normally cost more than $30,000 Canadian.

Counsellors will be on hand Sunday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Murrayville, at 22196 50th Ave.

“Anyone who has been a victim of sexual trauma can come down,” Bhatti told the Langley Advance Times.

If people are too shy to attend the toy and food drive, or worried about being seen talking to a counsellor, Bhatti said they can email support@andybhatti.com and he will arrange to have them interviewed.

Bhatti explained whoever qualifies will have to cover the cost of the flight to and from Thailand, but it is otherwise free.

They will also have to be interviewed by staff at the Cabin before they are approved, he added.

“I’ve been sending clients there for four or five years with a lot of success,” Bhatti related.

“They’ve offered to give us two beds a year.”

Online, the Cabin website describes “top-end amenities including dedicated hospital, private villas, tropical fauna-fringed swimming pools, a fully equipped fitness centre and open-air restaurants serving fine fusion cuisine.”

“It’s like a high-end village,” Bhatti described.

“Most of the counsellors who are there, are Canadian.”

Bhatti added assistance will also be provided to other people who attend the event, who can’t afford private care.

“We’ll tell them where to get help,” Bhatti said.

“We’re going to help them get into funded programs in B.C.”

READ MORE: Celebrity Christmas Food and Toy drive benefits victims of abuse

READ MORE: Langley’s Andy Bhatti wins Courage to Come Back Award

Kirk McLean, Dave Babych and Gino Odjick of the Vancouver Canucks, and Katie Stuart from the television show The 100 will be on hand, accepting donations of non-perishable foods, unwrapped toys or cash and signing autographs.

They will also be raffling off a signed Sydney Crosby jersey and a kid-sized driveable Jeep from Langley Chrysler.

There will be no bidding on the rehab offer.

Last year, Bhatti said the event raised enough to help eight families, “about $8,000 worth of stuff.”

“This year, our goal is to do 10.”

All donations will go to Sophie’s Place Youth Child Advocacy Centre, which is based out of Surrey but has a satellite office in Langley City.

Founded by Sophie Tweed-Simmons, daughter of KISS frontman Gene Simmons and Canadian model and actress Shannon Tweed, the centre helps children who have experienced trauma, including sexual abuse.

For Bhatti, addiction and sexual abuse are deeply personal issues.

He became addicted to heroin after being sexually abused from the ages of nine to 13.

His abuser, who volunteered as a Big Brother through Langley Big Brothers and Big Sisters at the time, was later convicted of sexually abusing two boys in Kamloops.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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