By Amanda Palacios
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — At 26 years old, Jose Ramirez says he’s lived a life with regrets. He was formerly incarcerated, abused drugs, and was living on the streets of Los Angeles.
“I was a homeless drug addict,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez says his life began to take a turn when he was referred to Holliday’s Helping Hands, an organization that provides social services and temporary housing.
“A lot of times our clients come to our facilities, they have health problems, they may have mental problems and they could have drug problems,” said Holliday’s Helping Hands Chief Executive Officer Katina Holliday. “But that doesn’t matter with Holliday’s Helping Hands. What matters most is we meet them where they are and everyone deserves a home.”
Ramirez discovered his passion for running after he joined a drug assistance program.
“Last year, sometime around May or June, AADAP started a running group and I joined it and I just kept on increasing my miles week by week,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez says running clears his mind and has made him become a better person. He’s currently working two jobs to save enough money to buy his own car and apartment.
“It makes me feel like I can do anything, I can accomplish anything, I can go anywhere,” he said.
He’s done so well in fact, that the people at Holliday’s Helping Hands said they wanted to find a way to celebrate his remarkable journey
They surprised him with an unforgettable gift: athletic gear, a Fitbit and new running shoes.
“He’s conquered his own personal struggles and that’s something to really be looked at.” said Holliday’s Helping Hands Program Manger Carlos Davis.
“In my past, I was a really bad person, so I feel like I don’t deserve any of this,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez has turned his life around for the better. But with everything he’s accomplished, he’s not quite done yet. He says his next goal is to run 26 miles at the L.A. Marathon.
“I’ve been training for the last six months and I feel real confident I’m going to finish this marathon,” Ramirez said.
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