"Right Click" Declares Pennsylvania Sucks

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Executive Director of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), Phil Valentine and his wife Sandy shared their inspirational Appalachian Trail (AT) stories last week to over 200 attendees.

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Phil and Sandy on the Cheney Hall stage.

“I absolutely loved it…It felt as if I was on the trail with you hearing your stories and triumph. Thank you.”

Phil “Right Click” Valentine, executive director of the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and his wife Sandy “Trail Angel” Valentine regaled an audience of more than 200 people with Appalachian Trail (AT) stories at the historic Cheney Hall in Manchester, CT. Using slides, photos and an informal conversational format, Right Click described trials, tribulations and conquests while Trail Angel shared similar experiences supporting the 6-month hike from home. The power of personal recovery (Phil 27 years, Sandy 23 years) served as an underlying, inspirational theme of the presentation titled #continue.

The audience, riveted as they shared about navigating through stage 4 cancer in 2010 and Phil’s call to walk the Appalachian Trail, laughed loudly when they heard Sandy’s response to the call. Sandy humored him by saying with a nod and a smile, “Sure honey, sure. You’re so cute.” Phil was well aware of what the “you’re so cute” phrase was code for. Ultimately, Phil would begin the hike on March 19th, 5 years from the day he was diagnosed.

About two years prior, CCAR’s Board of Directors made a decision to support Right Click’s walk. He hiked the entire trail to bring awareness to recovery from alcohol and other addiction. His progress was well tracked by the media, on a dedicated website http://www.AT4Recovery.org and through social media sites. Thousands of people followed the hike as Phil put a face on recovery.

On Friday, as the couple recalled many adventures, some downright miraculous, Phil talked about the 229 miles the AT covers through Pennsylvania. The trail, although not difficult in ups and downs, tormented and damaged his feet through miles and miles of sharp, jagged rocks. In this segment, even the audience joined his cry of “Pennsylvania SUCKS!”

The hike culminated on September 23rd on a brilliant, perfect, sunny day when Phil “Right Click” Valentine, summited Mount Katahdin in Maine. For Right Click, the emotional conclusion was not on the actual summit but when he collapsed into Trail Angel’s arms waiting at the base. When the last slide was shown, a sign that read “Welcome Home Right Click”, the audience stood, shouted and clapped.

Together, they have pledged to share their journey of faith wherever they can. If you are interested in having Phil and/or Sandy come to speak to you about this incredible experience, please contact chiara(at)ccar(dot)us.

Some facts: The Appalachian Trail is 2,189.2 miles long, runs from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME through 14 states. It took Right Click 189 days from March 19th to September 23rd averaging 11.6 miles/day. He took 12 zeros (days of rest with no hiking) but only one zero over the last 58 days. Right Click lost 56 pounds, chewed through 6 pairs of boots and took more than 5,000,000 steps.

All proceeds from the event went to the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) a non-profit 501c3.

#continue #AT4Recovery

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Chiara Maggiore
since: 09/2013
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Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR)
since: 09/2000
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