‘I had problems with addiction myself and New Hope helped me turn my life around’

Kells resident taking on 75km run to support the centre that changed his life

A FORMER drug addict who has turned his life around and is now a successful businessman is undertaking a gruelling 75km run to raise funds for the addiction centre that changed his life.

Kells resident Ray Kelly will run from Kells to Tallaght on 24th July - a distance of 75km.

"I will be raising funds for New Hope Addiction Centre in Tallaght, which does great work, but gets no government funding," he says.

"I had problems with addiction myself and they really helped turn my life around."

Ray is now a successful businessman living in Kells and employing two people in his own business, RK Carpentry Design.

"I have a lovely family with my partner, Lily, who has been a huge support to me." Ray is now a familiar sight on the roads of Kells as he trains for the ultra run in July.

Life wasn't always so good for Ray, who is originally from Tallaght. He got involved in drugs, and addiction stole his life for around 15 years.

"It was a terrible time and I really struggled. My brother who was 15 was killed in a traffic accident and it devastated our family. It has a massive affect and I fell in with the wrong crowd at around 18, and got involved in drugs.

"I was doing an apprenticeship and working and I managed to continue to work for most of it." Ray explains that he met Lily in 2012 and his daughter was born in 2013.

"We split up, which as the spur that made me seek help.

"I went into new Hope Addiction Centre in November that year and it turned my life around.

"I missed my first Christmas with my daughter, but it was worth it. I can spoil her now," he says.

The New Hope Addiction Centre is a Christian based centre that has helped a lot of addicts and their families.

"They do wonderful work and I was very lucky to have got their help.

"They get no government funding and fund-raising has been devastated by Covid-19."

Ray decided he had to do something to help and decided to take on the 75km run in July.

"I initially planned to do it in April but couldn't run outside my county boundary, so now its planned for 24th July in the middle of the builders holidays."

Ray plays football with Fordrew Rovers and goes to the gym, but has not done much running before.

"I started training for this a few months ago. I've been doing 20ks and hope to get up to 35 k." On the day of his ultra run, he is hoping to be joined by as many runners as possible doing 5k, 10k or longer runs with him.

"Fordrew Rovers and Kells AC are coming on board and we have sponsorship cards.

"I hope that there will be a lot of other people also running with me." Ray knows it is going to be a difficult task, but he's determined to go the distance no matter how hard it is.

"The important thing is to raise funds so that New Hope can continue to help people like they helped me," he says.

There will be a gofundme page set up shortly on which people can support Ray’s efforts and details will also be available on the New Hope Centre’s Facebook page.

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