Aldergrove mental health advocate Andy Bhatti (left) stands with Langley country singer Dallas Smith before the charity baseball game at Softball City on Saturday, July 25. (Andy Bhatti/Special to the Star)

Celebrities go to bat for charity led by Aldergrove childhood sexual abuse survivor

Andy Bhatti raises $4,390 for Sophie’s Place, a safe space in Surrey for sexually abused children

Vancouver Canucks alumni Chris Higgins, Jyrki Lumme, Dave Babych and Langley country artists Dallas Smith and Jo Jo Mason, played ball for charity on Saturday – spurred on by an Aldergrove mental health advocate wanting to break the stigma and raise awareness about childhood trauma.

Andy Bhatti has come a long way from living on the streets of Aldergrove and the Downtown Eastside as a teenager, thieving, dealing, and running from police to feed his $1,200-a-day heroin addiction.

On Saturday, the sober advocate played with some big names at Surrey’s Softball City for an event he organized in conjunction with other addiction interventionists from Langley.

By the end of all seven innings, $4,390 was raised from auctioned off sports items – such as signed helmets and jerseys from athletes including Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Maple Leafs’ Darryl Sittler, and NFL’er Jerry Rice.

To bid on any of the items , please go to the pictures on the original bid per item down the page. Not on this post and…

Posted by Andy Bhatti Interventions & Addiction Services on Friday, July 24, 2020

All proceeds from the silent auction went towards Sophie’s Place Child Advocacy – a Surrey non-profit that helped Bhatti turn his own life around and become the sober survivor he is today.

Saturday’s event was organized to help people, like Bhatti, who have struggled with addiction, trauma, and sexual abuse.

“Treatment for the addict or trauma survivor is typically where the work begins and ends, failing to acknowledge the feelings and pain of those around them such as family and friends,” Bhatti said.

Since going public about being sexually abused from ages nine to 13, the advocate has had dozens upon dozens of emails from other survivors sharing their stories, he admitted.

RELATED: Canuck alumni Chris Higgins and Dave Babych, country artist Dallas Smith to play in charity softball game

But many men aren’t ready to openly acknowledge what happened to them. 

“We have to break the silence of sexual abuse,” Bhatti said.

One in three children and one in five boys are abused, he pointed out.

A full-blown heroin addict by the age of 14, Bhatti was self medicating his pain after being sexually abused by his Big Brother.

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 – while Bhatti was attending high school in Aldergrove.

It was only after a police officer came to him asking if he had been abused by that same man that he broke his silence.

READ MORE: Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive held for hope and recovery

Now, Bhatti, the 2015 Courage to Come Back Award winner, is carrying on with his life’s work of helping sexual abuse survivors and their families.

The July 25 charity baseball event was streamed live on Facebook and Instagram.

Players stayed a safe distance from one another, keeping the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind. The few friends that watched the game from the sidelines wore face masks.

Those who tuned in virtually to the event got a free country music performance following the game.

Bhatti, who still lives in Langley, created his own non-profit group in 2014 for victims of childhood sexual abuse – called Survivors Supporting Survivors.

It connects people with addiction counselling and supportive services.

Those in need of immediate assistance can visit to andybhatti.com.

Posted by Andy Bhatti Interventions & Addiction Services on Saturday, July 25, 2020

Addictions treatmentAldergrovemental healthSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ON COOKING: Creating flavour when cooking meat

Chef Dez shares some ideas for preparing with marinades

LETTER: Calling for more speed enforcement in Langley

New Willoughby resident disappointed by lack of local traffic control

Online intolerance is increasing; activist

‘It’s mind-boggling’ says Langley City’s Cran Campbell

LETTER: We can’t wait for a vaccine before getting back to our lives

Critical of Township for not re-opening its pools and more rec facilities for those who needing them

LETTER: Another Fort Langley road turns into dangerous raceway

Billy Brown Road is a narrow village roadway being ‘hammered’ by speeders

Wildfire breaks out near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Most Read