Ahead of the Royal Parks Half Marathon, we spoke to one of our runners, John, about why he is running for us.

In late 2015, I became homeless. I’d been addicted to heroin for ten years, since I was 21, and after moving to London the addiction took hold of me.

Addiction is very repetitive. I was fed up of destroying my life and upsetting everyone around me – I‘d been trying to get over the addiction for nine years, and I was tired. I knew I had to finally nail it this time.

I managed to get myself into rehab, and after I was released I was referred to SHP’s Islington Aftercare services to help me get back on my feet while I was living in a hostel. I took part in several programmes, including Fuchsia and World of Work and I also got help writing my CV. I found SHP full of life. It was a happy place to be, and I had fun.

I slowly emerged back into the world, and when I was back on my feet I knew I wanted to work in this sector. I volunteered for a while, I’ve now I’ve got a full time job with Find and Treat, helping to screen people with Hepatitis C and helping them through their treatment to being cured.

People may think that I wasted my life, but I don’t see those years as wasted. I don’t like to think of the things I did as mistakes, I think of them as lessons that I can now use to help others in the same situation as I was in.
I’ve come so far in two years – I’ve got a home and a job, and I’m so proud of where I am.

Now, I feel fulfilled at the end of every single day. I feel like I can now take on challenges like the Royal Parks Half Marathon – something I wouldn’t have done before! It’s all part of slowly putting my life back together.

You can sponsor John hereFeeling inspired? Find out more about taking on a challenge for SHP.