Bullied Cape Breton boy gives back to biker community
Published Sunday, August 6, 2017 7:10PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, August 7, 2017 3:29PM ADT
Ten-year-old Xander Rose from Cape Breton, whose story went viral in June, is now saying thanks to the bikers that had his back.
Rose volunteered along with his new friends at a bike rally in Membertou on Sunday. He says he wants to do whatever he can to say thank you to the people that were there for him in a time of need.
“They helped me when I asked for it, so I’m only returning the favor,” says Rose.
In June hundreds of bikers from across the Maritimes came to Sydney to escort Rose to school, after he spoke out about being bullied.
“Since the ride I find Xander’s self asteem has gone through the roof. It’s fantastic. The boy is always smiling now and out going,” says Howard Mugridge of Bay Boys Motorcycle club.
Rose, who is aboriginal, was the target of racial slurs and made fun of this school year due to his weight. He says he was also subjected to threats of violence and told to kill himself.
His mother Katie Laybolt was determined to help her son - who loves motorcycles and wants to be a biker - reached out to a group of bikers to see if they could help.
His mother says the Bay Boys Motorcycle club has helped her son a lot.
“He's been hanging out with the Bay Boys, he doesn't want to talk to us, he's with his club, so he's been over there with them and they're really great to accept him and I think that's what he needed,” says Laybolt.
“It’s different then it was before, only having the one friend and now I have a few more. It’s different and a lot better,” says Rose.
Laybolt says her son has attracted international attention, he's been receiving messages of support from literally around the world, even doing an interview with a Japanese television network.
“Just a lot of thank yous to Xander for having the courage to get out there and say this isn't right and I don't want to be treated like this, a lot of support for him. People telling him it does get better,” she says.
Earlier in the week, Dr. Stan Kutcher released a number of recommendations to health with what some called a mental health crisis here in Cape Breton after three teens took their own lives in just six months.
While Laybolt says she is happy with some changes, she feels more still needs to be done with the code of conduct in schools.
“It will have to be something we see, how they're integrated into the schools and how they get the youth involved because i found them very wordy to be honest,” she says.
Rose and his family will be helping out at a “Kindness for Kids Fun day” being held in the community of Whitney Pier, as a way to say thank you to everyone that has been there for him.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.