Las Vegas, NV, February 08, 2020 --(PR.com
)-- Everybody deserves a second chance. That's what longtime business owner Holly Wever of Rentmax Property Management
thought after losing her sister to a heroin overdose in 2016. Wever’s friend, Jennie Slade, felt the same way. She had two sisters die of opioid overdoses. As a result of their grief, the pair teamed up with Jennie's family to create Second Chance 5K
, a 501(c)(3) charity here in Las Vegas.
The first year Wever and Slade didn’t expect much. ”It started out as just a 5K. A one-time event to remember our sisters,” says Wever. To their surprise, the event quickly took on a life of its own when over four hundred people showed up with little notice and raised $15k in donations. It was then that Wever and Slade could see that the 5K was bigger than their sisters. This was something the community needed and had been waiting for.
Few communities remain untouched by the opioid epidemic. It kills an estimated 130 people each day and costs the U.S. Economy $78 billion a year. The numbers are even higher when you include other drug-related deaths making narcotic overdose the leading cause of injury and death in the United States--higher than guns, HIV, car crashes or any other disease.
With prisons filled to capacity and people overdosing at ever increasing rates, the days of locking up “drug addicts” and treating them like criminals needs rethinking. Addiction radically impairs the brain, changing neural pathways that make it much harder to stop.
Research shows, the opposite of addiction is connection: connection to family, connection to friends, connection to neighbors and even connection to strangers. Every year this event has grown because of this core foundation. We need to support each other, see each other, believe in each other. We need each other.
The Second Chance 5K is for everyone: people with addiction, families and friends of those struggling, people who have lost loved ones, people who care about this crisis. Wever and Slade give special promotion codes to people in recovery so they can register for free. As a result, over 100 participants that crossed the finish line in 2019 were currently receiving treatment in Las Vegas. Some rehabs even trained for the event forming running and hiking groups. Rehabs like Nick’s House
that offer safe, structured living, bused all their residents to the race, including one runner who lost his eyesight during a burglary before getting sober. He did the entire race with his hand on his buddy’s shoulder.
Over three years, the nonprofit has raised over $75k to help those dealing with addiction in our valley: They sponsored a woman’s treatment that helped her find employment after graduating from a recovery program, they partnered with WestCare of Southern Nevada - Women & Children's Campus
and renovated a dilapidated, unusable wing creating 20 new beds for mothers transitioning back into society, and most recently, they re-landscaped WestCare’s campus courtyard where inpatients spend time, making it a happier place to get healthy. Second Chance has also helped provide Christmas for families affected by addiction the last couple of years and has established a $5k grant application for nonprofits fighting this battle in our city.
This year’s donations will help give women direct care; Second Chance is partnering with Vegas Stronger
and Freedom House
who are on the front lines of recovery in Las Vegas.
The 4th Annual 5K will be held March 28, 2020 at Givens Elementary at 9 am (registration is 8:00-8:45 am, or online for early bird discount
). This family friendly event is meant to be a place where the community can come together to support each other, share stories, learn about recovery and enjoy a few hours moving in the sun. Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are cheered on by volunteers from Durango and Palo Verde High School on the 3.1 mile course. The finish line is a celebration with music, dancing, face painting, a bounce house and food trucks. For early risers, this year there will also be free Trauma Recovery Yoga
with founder Joyce Bosen before the race (7:30-8:15 am).
In addition to the fun, there will also be opportunities for education. At least fifteen other Las Vegas nonprofits and rehabilitation centers, including Las Vegas Rescue Mission
, Gamblers Anonymous
and others will be there offering information and resources. Last year, over one hundred and fifty Narcan shots—a life-saving measure to treat a narcotic overdose—were distributed.
Second Chance was started as a way to remember the lives of three sisters who died from drug addiction. It has grown into so much more. It’s an event for everyone--all of us. Please consider spending a few hours on a Saturday morning to show that you care about this issue, you care about those struggling, you believe everyone should have a second chance.
For more information on how to donate, become an official sponsor or get involved, please go to secondchance5k.org