LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As people lined up along the start line with shorts and running shoes, Holly Wever reflects on how the Second Chance 5K helped her heal.
“My baby sister Kristi overdosed on heroin in 2016. She was only 28 years old. When it happened, I realized, if this happened to my family. This can happen, anywhere,” Wever said.
Wever co-founded the Second Chance 5K, which has since turned into a non-profit. Its mission is to give people another chance to find a cure for addiction.
“I felt like it was important for people who struggle with addiction to first feel like real people because they are. And for other people to recognize it. There’s been so much shame attached to this disease,” Wever said.
This is the seventh year Second Chance has been held, and Saturday’s race took place near Givens Elementary in Summerlin West. Participants were encouraged to arrive at 8 a.m. and the race’s program started at 9 a.m.
The most recent data from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reports 371 overdose deaths in Clark County in 2021.
Along the route of the 5K were photos of the lives lost to addiction. Those pictured served as a reminder of why the race was organized.
While folks were given the option to walk or run, some participants said they went to honor the lives lost.
“This is about people who are suffering, families who have suffered, people who know people that are going through it,” Michele Dearing said. “So, you’ve got to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”
There were non-profits at the event with booths, sharing information on how people battling addiction can lead a life toward recovery.
“It’s really meeting them where they’re at. Helping them figure out what are they willing to do right now to help them move out of the situation they’re in,” Angel Lash, coordinator for the Clark County District Court Law Enforcement Intervention for Mental Health and Addiction Program said.
The funds raised at the 5K went to organizations such as No Hero in Heroin, Vegas Stronger, and Mission High School, which is the first school in the country designed for students recovering from substance abuse.
According to the Southern Nevada Health District, most of the overdose deaths in Clark County in 2021 were linked to fentanyl.