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"Hope Wall" will honor folks in recovery

LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Operation UNITE is working on honoring the ones recovering from drug addiction. There will be a "Hope Wall" unveiled in August to celebrate people who have been sober for about 18 months.

Blair Stafford says she was 13 when she first used drugs.

"I went to stay the night with a friend and I just wanted to fit in. And they smoked pot and I thought, 'We'll I'll do it, too. Just to be cool,'" said Stafford.

But one night with friends began an 11 year struggle with substances, which included cocaine and painkillers. She eventually checked herself into a ten day rehab when she was 24.

"I remember I was like, 'I can't do this.' The misery, the pain, the sickness. My temperature was like one hundred and four," Stafford said.

Stafford says she has not wanted to take drugs since turning her life over to God in 2011, but she knows recovery is challenging for many people.

Operation UNITE officials say it was time that someone honored people in recovery.

Officials with Operation UNITE started making the "Hope Wall." People in recovery for about 18 months are encouraged to submit pictures, their age when they first used drugs, their date of sobriety, and a short statement of what sobriety means to them. All of that information will be displayed on the 24-feet-wide and 8-feet-tall wall.

"So many times there are individuals who end up dying from this horrible disease or never overcome it. We wanted to come together and celebrate this wall," said Amy Yates, the Treatment Director for Operation UNITE.

"There's hope. There is hope, for sure," Stafford said.

The unveiling of the "Hope Wall" will be on August 16th at the Eastern Kentucky University Manchester Regional Campus at 1 p.m.

To send pictures or information for the "hope Wall," you can call Amy Yates at (606) 330-1400, or you can email Amy Yates at ayates@centertech.com .

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