CFN – The annual Bike-a-thon Plus fundraiser in support of the S.D. & G. & Akwesasne Children’s Treatment Centre officially launched this morning over breakfast at the Civic Complex. Invitees filled Salons A, B and C bright and early to be inspired by the words of author Dave Pelzer.
Pelzer is perhaps best known for ‘A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive’, the best-selling auto-biographical book which chronicles how he was beaten and starved at the hands of his unstable alcoholic mother. Until school authorities rescued him at the age of 12, he was treated as a slave, rather than a family member and a thing rather than a person.
“I know what it’s like to be less than zero.” Upon visiting his birth mother several years later, she admitted that she would have killed him in 1973 except for one fact – she didn’t know what to do with “its” body.
As a result of this treatment, one might expect Pelzer to be bitter and somewhat dysfunctional, yet that’s not the case. He’s had a successful career and raised a family. The depth of his Catholic spirituality shines forth in his words: “God is great. If you’re righteous you’ll prevail; sometimes it takes time.” And later: “Allow greatness to happen. Allow Him to come into your heart .”
His recovery is in no small measure as a consequence of the help he received from a social worker and foster mother who challenged him to become the best version of himself. The foster mom was quoted as saying: “I love you, David, but I can only help you so far. You have to learn to help yourself.” The woman had him stand in front of a mirror for 30 minutes daily to practice speaking; he’d been locked in a basement until age 12 and hadn’t learned the skill until that point.
To people still dealing with attempts to cope his advice is:
“Do what you have to do for now. … Be a survivor, not a victim. … just don’t swallow hatred.”
It’s clear that resilience is his focus, not abuse.
To others who’ve suffered emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse, concerning recovery he offers: “I love you; God loves you, but how bad do you want it? … You need to purge. … I don’t care about what you want; I care about what you need … I don’t care how you got here. Let’s move forward. Let’s be our best.” Paraphrasing Bill Cosby, he cautions that the antithesis is to be a hurting person who hurts other people and that: “Cancer never sleeps.”
To those of us in the community who care about and support children, Pelzer exhorts: “If you’re righteous, it may take a generation or two, but you will prevail.”
For information about how you can be involved in the May 21st Bike-a-thon Plus please follow this LINK