By Karen Dandurant, Seacoastonline.com
PORTSMOUTH – The message Dover resident Jen Clark wants to send to everyone hoping for recovery from a substance abuse disorder is that it is possible, but only when you really want it for yourself. Clark told her story, and how a doctor at Families First helped her to believe in herself. Her story involves alcohol, drugs, teen pregnancy, an arrest record and prostitution.
She credits Dr. Ruth James, a family medicine practitioner and addiction specialist at Families First in Portsmouth, with setting her on the road to recovery. Clark took the first step by approaching Families First’s mobile health van while it was parked at Strafford County Court last year.
A "penny drive" by third and fourth graders in Hampton raised $1,200 in spare change from friends and family to support Families First Health & Support Center's mobile health unit. The huge van is outfitted to provide medical and dental services, counseling and social work, to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and public housing to care for lower income residents and people who are homeless. Last year, Families First provided health care to more than 1,300 people in the seaoast area.
Nearly 400 runners, walkers, and motorcycle riders from all over the region gathered in Randolph on August 18th and 19th and raised $105,000 for the 12th annual Last Mile Ride. The popular two-day fundraiser has raised $646,000 over the years to support unique end-of-life services provided by Gifford Health Care. The funds raised help people with advanced illness celebrate the time they have left with friends and loved ones, supporting patients in the hospital’s Garden Room suites and also those who choose to remain in their home.
“We’ve flown loved ones home to have last goodbyes with moms; put gas in people’s cars to get here for last moments together, or for a patient to seek treatment at other facilities; and we have hosted five weddings in our Garden Room,” Gifford’s Development Director Ashley Lincoln told the crowd. “Sometimes it’s as simple as a voucher for a pizza or a massage. We depend on you, and knowing that I’ll see you here year after year on the third week in August is key to our success.”
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