Andy is one of the incredible runners taking on the London Marathon this April to fundraise for people experiencing homelessness after a gambling addiction nearly led his family to homelessness. He shares his inspiring story.
I hid my gambling addiction from my family
‘In March 2007, my first child Joel was born. What should have been the happiest time of my life, was the worst. I had hit rock bottom; my gambling addiction had taken over everything.
‘My last bet was on 14 April 2007. I was in huge debt which I was hiding from my wife and family. I didn’t know how to get help. I felt so ashamed and all I could think about was running away or worse, ending my life. Shortly after my wife found one of my bank statements, the game was up. So many worries were running through my mind at that low point and becoming homeless was one of them.
Running transformed my life
‘However, with the love and support of the people I hurt, I started my long journey on the road to recovery. Not only had addiction affected my mental health, but it also affected me physically. I was unfit and not eating properly.
‘During my recovery, I had to fill the void of gambling. So I rekindled a passion I had as a kid and started to run. Before I knew it, I was covering 20 miles a week, losing weight, and feeling great in my mind and body. I entered my local 10k race, raising money for a local charity.
There is hope with Shelter
‘Experiencing a gambling addiction made me consider what I value the most and having a safe home for my family is one of them. I strongly believe no one should be without a home and I know not all are as lucky as me to get the help they need. This is why I’m running the 2023 London Marathon for Shelter. I know the tightrope of losing hope and thinking about leaving loved ones homeless. I don’t want anyone to feel they have no hope.
‘It’s humbling to run for a charity that shares all my values. If you think no one can help you, if you’re on the verge of becoming homeless there is always hope, there is always Shelter.’
Over 200 runners are taking on the 2023 London Marathon this April to join the fight for home. Shelter exists to ensure people like Andy have access to a safe, secure home – because home is everything.