For Sandra Huffman, walking from Florida to Philadelphia has required a comfortable pair of shoes, the companionship of her dog Sassy and lots of determination. The road to drug and alcohol recovery, however, has been much tougher for the Montgomery County native.
Huffman, who has been clean for five years, began the 1,300-mile trek from Fort Lauderdale on June 11 to help raise awareness for recovery. Her walk will end Saturday at the 11th annual PRO ACT Recovery Walk at Penn’s Landing.
“It was amazing,” Huffman, 44, said of her trip, which has been tracked on Facebook. “I was coming home. That’s what I wanted to do.”
At age 14, Huffman ran away from Meridian Home for Girls and went to Florida, starting her battle with hard substances. Over the next 20 years, she would suffer through abusive relationships, homelessness, jail and separation from her children, but she credits a Brower County judge and the drug treatment program in prison for helping to turn her life around.
To fund the walk, Huffman has received online donations and sold hand-made mustard seed necklaces. She has eaten at soup kitchens and homeless shelters. And though she currently lives with a relative and is jobless, Huffman said the walk was worth it.
“I really think I started a lot of conversations for people that they wouldn’t normally have,” she said.