Register for StrongWILL-ed October

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019

Registration is open for the fourth annual StrongWILL Charity Fun Run/Walk that’s set for Oct. 19 at the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline trailhead in Driver. This event will begin at 7:30 a.m., before the Driver Days festival begins later that same day.

Last-minute registration and packet pick-up will be from 6:30 to 7 a.m. before all participants gather for a group photo at 7:15 a.m., according to April Brooks, founder of the StrongWILL organization.

Both the one-mile and 5K routes along the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail and back again will begin at 7:30 a.m., and there are a total of 251 Halloween-themed finisher medals for participants this year, Brooks wrote in an email.

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Participants will enjoy light refreshments after they finish. The race is expected to last roughly two hours from start to finish, and afterward everyone is encouraged to enjoy the Driver Days festivities.

Each registered adult will also receive a raffle ticket, which may be placed into one of several prize packages of their choosing for a chance to win. Every child who registers will automatically get a prize when they finish, Brooks wrote.

The StrongWILL organization brings attention to addiction, helps those in recovery and helps support those affected, as well as those that help them. Brooks founded the organization after her brother, William “Doug” West, died in April 2016 from a heroin overdose.

According to Brooks, her brother lives on through the organization’s name and actions; through the scholarship named after him, and after Victoria Dail, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy graduate who also died of a heroin overdose in 2016; and through the participation of the Suffolk community and everyone that wears the “StrongWILL” name proudly.

“StrongWILL gives the community a chance to honor their deceased loved ones and to realize those affected are not alone,” Brooks wrote. “We fight for those who are still struggling and battling, and celebrate those who have overcome their addiction!

“Our events provide a chance for those to unite, empathize and rebuild,” she continued.  “A chance to work with our community to spread the love, to stop the stigma and address the opioid epidemic head on.”

Thanks to community support, StrongWILL has donated more than $13,000 to Hampton Roads organizations that work directly with local residents suffering from addiction, and has donated 120 care packages for caretakers and families of babies born with addiction.

Their goal this year is to raise $9,000 to sponsor three year-long stays for those seeking recovery at the Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads addiction treatment center in Newport News.

“StrongWILL represents the strength you need inside yourself to overcome your battles,” Brooks wrote. “We don’t limit ourselves to one city, or one specific organization as we try to help all of Hampton Roads and to choose a different aspect of addiction every year.

“We hope to inspire people to make a difference, do good, and give back.”

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