Run/walk event to provide substance abuse treatment for veterans

Published 7:49 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

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StrongWILL is hosting its seventh annual Driver Days StrongWILL fun run and walk charity event at the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline trail beginning at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 15.

This year’s event offers both an in-person and an optional virtual run/walk. This year, organizers said in a news release that they will only be holding a 5k Fun Run/Walk.

StrongWILL is personally driven to bring the community together while raising awareness for substance abuse addiction. Seven years ago, April Brooks said in the release that she and her husband found her beloved brother after he passed away from a heroin overdose. This launched our desire to have an affect on the community — to stand up against the opioid epidemic and to make a difference in someone’s life/

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Our 2022 goal is to raise $9,000. Brooks said they are honored to be donating

this year’s proceeds to local veterans who are seeking substance abuse treatment at Recovery for Life.

She said in the release that previous sponsorships have allowed them to make a difference. In the last six years combined, StrongWILL has been able

to donate a total of $71,197.02 back into our community. Last year, the organization donated $16,280.23 to Hope Center Ministries to start a Hope Center in Suffolk. In 2020, even though they were forced to do a virtual race

due to COVID-19, they were still able to donate $8,658.38 to Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless which will give individuals an opportunity to seek recovery assistance.

In 2019, the group donated $12,000 to Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads, which was enough for four individuals to get a yearlong stay and wish to seek recovery. In 2018, they donated $12,396.27 worth of products to two local hospitals, CHKD and Sentara that provide neonatal care to infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

In 2017, they assisted the Suffolk Police Department in buying lifesaving Automated External Defibrillators. And in its first year 2016, the group donated to two local organizations that provided four 30 day stays in a transition home and 20 treatment sessions for those in recovery. In addition to the above donations, in 2019 and 2020 Brooks said they awarded $8,000 in scholarships to high school graduates for their winning essays on substance abuse, and they sponsored a total of $590 for a few individuals requesting additional funds to support their continued stay at Oxford homes.

For additional information, visit and search for the StrongWILL charity event or visit the group’s page on Facebook.