"My name is Danielle and these Hokas belong to me. Never did I think I would own a pair of running shoes or even more so, run half marathons. When I was 10 years old I lost my dad in a motorcycle accident. I started using drugs and alcohol at 13 and was quickly consumed by addiction. I gave birth to my son, Austin, when I was 19. Wanting to be a better mom, I tried to stay away from hard drugs but alcohol consumed my life. Active addiction is a horribly miserable place to be but it is powerful and I struggled to change my ways. However, on July 17th, 2015, when I was 29 with a 9 year old son, I reached my rock bottom and checked myself into a chemical dependency treatment center and have been clean and sober ever since. In the past nearly 6 years, I have grown a TON as a person and as a mother. Learning to love myself has been a crucial piece of my recovery. I attend counseling, family counseling, Narcotics Anonymous meetings and I have learned to trust in a higher power I know as Jesus Christ. I am not an athlete and have never been a runner. But my journey through this world has led me to the efforts of an organization called World Vision, which brings life-changing, clean water to communities around the world and so much more. Through my efforts I have raised over $6,000 in 3 years to bring clean water to people in Africa. Over 120 people have access to clean water because I decided to buy a pair of running shoes, train hard and ask people to donate. So many people, some strangers even, decided to give so generously, that's why I run. Running is hard, overcoming addiction is hard, life on life's terms is hard but I can do hard things. Today I am grateful for the many blessings I have in my life. I am not defined by my addiction nor my recovery, there is more to my story than that. But addiction is a reality to so many, so many people that just don't know there is another way to live. I've lived in the horrors of active addiction and I want others to know, recovery is possible. 

Thanks for reading." 

-Danielle Florek

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