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"Back on My Feet not only gave me the community and physical activity I so desperately needed, but I stand taller now, and I have more hope for my future because of the support they continue to give me."

— Shawn, Back on My Feet Austin, Alum

From Addiction and Despair to Ultramarathon Glory: The Inspiring Journey of US Army Veteran Shawn

A veteran of the US Army, Shawn suffered a back injury while serving, and during treatment, became addicted to the painkillers. It wasn’t long before he was also addicted to heroin.

In a three-year span, Shawn lived in six different states. As he explains it, “[I was] under the delusion that a fresh start in a new place was all I needed to kick this thing. … I was strung out, homeless, broke, hungry, and lonely. … No family, no friends, no life.”

Shawn was lost. He wanted to see his family, he wanted to get clean, and he wanted to have a life. “For years, I lived plagued with guilt, embarrassed and ashamed, lost in the grips of my addiction,” he says.

Shawn then entered a rehab facility, which is where he heard about Back on My Feet. When he started, Shawn says that he was out of shape, still a smoker, and couldn’t even run a couple miles. Today, however, Shawn is a changed man. He completed the Austin Marathon this year and ran a 100k ultra marathon over the Bandera, Texas hill country. He has reconnected with his family, something very important to him, and their relationship is thriving.

Joining Back on My Feet was such a transformative experience for Shawn that he has now qualified for the elite 2019 Western States 100k ultra marathon. Shawn is now also getting his personal trainer certification through financial aid from Back on My Feet

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