Running for his life
Most days, Curtis Connolly can be found working in the furniture section of the PricePro store operated by the Welcome Home Addiction Recovery Academy, fielding calls on the wireless phone clipped to his belt.
The Newton rehab facility has been the 28-year-old's home for the past 10 months.
Connelly, who grew up in Richmond and Vancouver, is battling an addiction to prescription painkillers that began while he was playing high school football.
He was spiraling downward, getting involved with the criminal underworld and unable to fix himself, when he found out about the intensive two-year program offered by Welcome Home from an aunt who read about it online.
“I needed to change everything in my life, not just take away the prescription drugs,” Connolly says.
"I needed to understand the behaviours behind why I was using the drugs.”
Connolly is making progress. He was recently elected student council president at the Academy, representing other students with any issues they need addressed.
On Aug. 12, he will take part in the Run for Recovery in Surrey to show support for the program.
“It will mean a lot because I’m running for a cause I believe in," Connolly says.
The second annual run, sponsored by PricePro, Diamond Delivery and The Running Room, includes 5K and 10K routes for all skill levels, from runners to walkers.
The opening ceremony is set for 9 a.m. in the parking lot of PricePro at 6911 King George Hwy.
Welcome Home’s founder, John Volken is scheduled to speak.
Volken started the John Volken Foundation after selling his retail chain of 150 stores.
The foundation funds Welcome Home, which aims to produce a full, permanent recovery with a long-term, residential, abstinence-based model that tackles the root causes of addiction.
“I felt very passionate about creating this foundation to address the devastation of drug and alcohol addiction,” Volken says.
“We are here to stop the hurt and help people turn their lives around. We provide all the tools they need.”
Following the run, the public is invited to come out for a family-freindly community festival starting at 11 a.m. and running until 3 p.m.
It will feature live music, dancing, face painting, food, refreshments and more. Local artists Alexandria Maillot and Danny Echo are scheduled to perform.
Businesses and community organizations are invited to sponsor booths at the festival and share in the community spirit of the event.
Participants can register online for the Run for Recovery at www.runforrecovery.net.
You can read more about the Welcome Home Addiction Recovery Academy at www.whrecovery.org