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Journey to Joining

My journey to joining the Woodridge MTB Trail Support Foundation started as a referral to James at Woodridge Ford by a colleague just shy of 8 years ago. When my husband, Casey, and I met James it was incredibly easy to fall into a friendship with conversation that could go on for hours; sports, exploring, life - no topic was off limits, including James’ sobriety.

Over the years, we kept in touch throughout a few more vehicle purchases and life events, a few check-ins and occasional coffees at the dealership during service appointments. The friendship we developed was one where we could fall in and out of contact and always pickup where we left off when we next connected.

Over the next few years, unbeknownst to James, his willingness to share his path to sobriety years prior, helped Casey and I navigate Casey’s sobriety journey. James’ story taught us that addiction does not discriminate; it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, or social class. Having someone in our circle who has experienced and overcome the same challenges helped us break our own stigma about addiction and encouraged us to be willing to normalize the conversation about alcoholism with friends and family.

Fast forward to this summer, when James reached out asking us to become supporters of his foundation, his passion to create change was palpable! He talked through his goals, what he had already accomplished through connections and donations and I knew this was an opportunity to return the support he gave to us.

What started out as small treats for an Alpha House event, turned into being an ambassador and eventually joining the Woodridge MTB team and closing out a successful season. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to support James in his goal to build up the foundation, develop meaningful partnerships within the community and support people in their recovery journey and look forward to seeing what the team can achieve next season! 🖤

- Leigh Calla


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