Nova Scotia native raising awareness of alcoholism

Sam McNeish
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A Journey of Hope

Nova Scotia native raising awareness of alcoholism

AMHERST - It's a problem that lives in all our lives.

Almost every family has a dark story of someone who has a drinking problem of varying degrees.

One of those stories is of Rick MacDonald, 49, a New Glasgow native who fell into alcoholism while growing up in Toronto.

He returned to the Maritimes in the 1990s and as of 2004 was living on the streets in Dartmouth. He pulled every trick available to him including defrauding the bank to finance his addiction.

MacDonald was so low, he contemplated suicide.

He has come a long way since.

MacDonald, was in Amherst Saturday to start his Journey Of Hope run to Halifax for the Salvation Army, the group he credits with helping to get his life turned around.

His 270 km, seven-day trek will see him raise awareness about alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs and attempt to raise $10,000 for the Running Sober Endowment Fund to be used to help others reach sobriety.

"Three years ago on Oct. 15, I was living in the woods. I got into rehab through the Salvation Army and from there I developed faith and a reason to live,'' he said.

MacDonald entered the Salvation Army's Booth Centre and got into a rehabilitation program. Today he is employed as a food warehouse worker at the booth centre and helps with the 12-step program.

"I want everyone to know there is hope,'' MacDonald said.

"Even when you are at your lowest and you don't think there is anything more you can do or want to live for, there is hope. I'm proof of that.''

Credits unions in Nova Scotia are accepting pledges and donations in support of the run and a support team will accept funds along the route or visit www.salvationarmy.ca/runningsober.

Organizations: Salvation Army, Running Sober Endowment Fund, Booth Centre

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, AMHERST, New Glasgow Toronto Dartmouth Halifax

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