Recovering addict gives back
A former drug user who used exercise as a route out of addiction used fitness classes as a way to thank a lifeline charity.
Michaele Parfitt, who beat a 12-year addiction in 2014, teamed up with Pembroke-based Streaker's Spin Studio to raise funds for Focus Counselling, which gave her a “safe haven” as she fought for recovery.
Ms Parfitt said: “Focus is a support resource that's actually out there, physically in the community.
“You know that when you help them, you're directly helping addicts. They have been a safe haven for me plenty of times.”
Ms Parfitt ran a series of classes at Streaker's to raise cash for Focus, which is based in Hamilton's Elliot Street.
Classes were $10 a session — Streaker's also chipped in to make a total of $500.
Ms Parfitt said she chose an fitness-based fundraiser because exercise was “a very important part of my recovery”.
She explained: “It's not just about stopping drugs. It's for the mind, the body and the spirit.
“It works for me, but I don't find a lot of addicts get into fitness, and I want to encourage them.”
The fundraising effort was held about two weeks ago to mark Recovery Month and Ms Parfitt presented Sandy Butterfield, the executive director of Focus, with the cash yesterday.
Focus provides residential treatment and other assistance to addicts, including hot meals.
Ms Butterfield said the charity had struggled to keep afloat in the past, but that it had been “blessed” this year.
She added: “We have a lot of lives to save. We're always grateful to the Government for their help, and we have a good relationship with the Department of National Drug Control.
“We're glad to work together as a community — you can't be disjointed in this field.
“We're just grateful for everything. We feed at least 20 people a day.”
Ms Butterfield founded Focus in 1992 with the late Jerry Griffiths and said she planned to retire next year, with Leslie Grant, an addiction counsellor, due to take over.
Mr Grant, who joined Ms Butterfield for the donation handover, said: “This shows us that ordinary people can definitely contribute, no matter how big or small, every bit helps. We definitely appreciate this gift.”
He added Ms Parfitt's use of exercise to help in her recovery was an idea worth exploration.
Mr Grant said: “I like the idea she talks about, that when people get into recovery they don't always embrace the physical part.
“I'm going to encourage recovering persons to come around and try it.”
Streaker's fitness studio, which features stationary bikes used for spin classes, was created on St John's Road, Pembroke, by Dwayne “Streaker” Adams, a former goalkeeper for the Bermuda national football team, and his wife Cindy.
Mr Adams said: “Our motto is to give back to the community as much as we can.
“That's why we make our classes as cheap as possible, because we have single parents and families struggling and exercise is a good outlet.”
Mr Adams said he hoped to turn the fundraiser into an annual event. He said: “Michaele has come to our classes and expressed her wish to do something for Recovery Month.
“We toyed with a few different ideas and decided we would use everything we raised that morning for charity.
“Giving back to the community is always positive.”