“The discipline and how good running made me feel trickled into the rest of my life. The biggest part was the community.”
On Running, a longtime partner of Back on My Feet, published an impactful feature on alum Derek.
Derek previously battled substance abuse but has transformed his life through the power of running and the support of Back on My Feet. Derek’s story is a testament to the life-changing impact of community and resilience. As he candidly shares, “I hoped I wouldn’t ever wake up again,” but ultimately, it was an overdose that led him toward recovery.
At a young age, Derek lost his grandmother which led him to skip school and experience depression. By age 18, he was homeless for the first time. His struggles with addiction started during a construction job he worked in which he was prescribed pain medication for work-related injuries. Eventually, he began relying on the pills not only for pain relief. When the government restricted prescription drugs, Derek resorted to heroin use.
When Derek joined Back on My Feet, his life took a remarkable turn. He was surprised to discover a supportive community that empowered him to overcome addiction, pursue employment, and achieve his dreams. His journey is a beacon of hope, as he explains, “Now I know if I put my mind to something, I can achieve it. I believe in myself and love myself.”
On Running is a valued partner of Back on My Feet that provides financial contributions to the organization and gear to teams in all 16 cities.
Read more about Derek’s story at Transforming lives on the streets of New York.