Brenda Thacker and the Walk Against Addiction
By Cathy Baldwin –
A Personal Crusade to End the Shame
Brenda Thacker’s “Aha!” moment came during an Al Anon meeting. During a discussion about addiction as a disease, she thought: “Cancer’s got Relay for Life. Down’s Syndrome’s got the Buddy Walk. If they can do a walk, I can do a walk.”
“I wanted to make people aware that addiction is a disease, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” says Brenda. “If someone tells you they have cancer, you say, ‘Oh, you poor thing! What can I do to help?’ But if someone tells you they’re an addict, you react differently.”
Out of her determination to take the shame out of addiction, Brenda started the Walk Against Addiction in 2010. “The first one I had a father and daughter reunite at the walk,” says Brenda. “It was–and still is–a safe place to discuss addiction.”
“I wanted it to be a place where you were comfortable to talk about yourself and friends–a level playing field,” says Brenda. She says the event has given many an opportunity to unburden themselves of “shameful secrets”. Says Brenda, “I hear all the time: ‘I’ve never shared that before because I was ashamed.'”
This will be the third year for the Walk Against Addiction. Held at First Flight High School on Saturday, September 29, registration begins at 9 in the morning. Dustin Daniels, the Director of Dare Challenge, will be the guest speaker. Twelve doves will be released to signify the twelve steps of recovery. The walk begins at First Flight High School and loops around the middle and elementary schools, about a mile distance in all. Afterwards Mighty Wind United Methodist Church will be grilling hot dogs and burgers for participants. Addiction professionals will be on hand to educate and counsel.
The cost to walk is $10, which includes a tote bag, pen, wristband and addiction-related information. 100% of the proceeds go to “The Awareness That Addiction is a Disease Fund” to educate people about addiction and helping those who need treatment for substance abuse. Says Brenda, “The fund has sent people to recovery facilities and bought bicycles for those without transportation to ride back and forth to counseling.”
For more information on the Walk Against Addiction, visit walkagainstaddiction.org or call 252-202-1110.