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Face of the Race: Vince Sims

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) -- A lot of people run the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon to beat a personal goal. Other runners are raising awareness for passion projects. But one Urbana man is running to save lives.

While some people wear their heart on their sleeve, Vince Sims wears his on the back of his shirt, "There is no such thing as a lost cause." It's the motto of Urbana-based drug and alcohol recovery program, Lifeline-Connect.

"When I hear these stories I just can't believe the situation that they've come out of," says Sims. Sims is running the half-marathon to raise money for the program. They're trying to expand their dorms to take in 24 men a year, versus the six they can currently house.

Michael Savage battled a heroin addiction and graduated from the program almost a decade ago, "I was the guy that you see on the side of the road, asking people for money. I had been to prison, I had been through all different types of treatment programs ," he says.

Lifeline-Connect is a faith-based ministry. With no state funding, every dollar raised is important. 

"I personally have had friends who have been calling to interview to get into the program and who have actually died of an overdose waiting to get into the program," says Savage.

Sims can't bear to hear another story like that one, which is why he's hitting the pavement. He isn't just a random donor, either. His work as an embalmer has led him to see drug addiction and the opioid crisis firsthand.

"I'm kinda on that front line that goes into the home, picks someone up that's been overdosed, and you're meeting a family that's hysterical, kids that are heartbroken .. and there's just a lot of things that in the past, experiences that you have that you just can't unsee," says Sims.

He can't unsee those things, but he can help. One step, one breath, one mile at a time. His goal is to just cross that finish line, because the road to recovery for the men he's helping is a lot longer than the 13.1 miles Sims will run.

To donate and for more information, visit Lifeline-Connect here. You can also call 217-621-9649.


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