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.


Pelzer says:

“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



  1. It was very inspiring, such a priviledge to be able to attend, a big thank you to Garry Meek of Drogheda Manor who sponsored our table. There is much to reflect on in the content of his talk, hearing him say how grateful he was to then California governor Ronald Regan for passing legislation which gave people the obligation to come forward and report abuse thus paving the way for him to be rescued. This is such an important message. We must never allow ourselves to be abused, and we must stop abuse wherever we see it happen. There were only a few Nazi’s when you think about it, what they did was they hand picked out of the Jewish population those who would carry out their plans and therefore it was not the Nazi’s who put innocent Jews into the ovens, it was these other Jews with titles. So it’s a warning to all of us to beware of titles and to think very carefully before we carry out the orders of others….
    6 minutes ago · Like · 1

  2. Ohhhhhh, Shirley, why did you use that horrid analogy here?
    When you say there were only a few Nazis…have you ever seen documentaries?I’m sorry but I have a hard time agreeing, although I do get your point.

  3. Ok Ms Steak, there is a reason for the use of the analogy and it is this: Violence can be seen on a continuum or line upon which certain dots are drawn- the most extreme end is genocide such as the one that I just used as an example, the other end is the beginning of line which starts at 0 where there is no violence and then starts moving to naming the “other”, a current and extremely alarming example of this is happening right here in Canada which is selective selection of male fetuses over female fetuses. That means that the question of being male and female, that identification alone makes one a target for becoming vulnerable to abuse.

    I hope that I get a reply from you because as horrible as my example was, so it is absolutely terrifying how individuals like ourselves witness violence all the time and do nothing about it. The reason David Peltzer was so grateful to Reagan was that everyone- EVERYONE in his neighbourhood knew about his abuse and no one, I repeat- NO ONE did anything about it until the law was passed. If this explanation is not clear to you then by all means ask me another question.

  4. So Shirley, are you saying that social indifference and political apathy is the root of all evil?

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