WATCH: As former Duncan resident Doug Mackenzie prepares to give away two addictions treatment packages, we meet the two men who won the giveaway last time. April Lawrence shares their stories.
With a smile on his face and his wife by his side, it’s hard to imagine that two years ago Matt Funk was homeless, wandering the streets of Duncan addicted to drugs.
“I’d be downtown and just start crying sometimes you know and would have to go stand behind a dumpster or something,” said Funk.
He started drinking heavily in his teens and using drugs in university. He got married and had two babies and tried treatment a few times with no success.
“I couldn’t hold down a job anymore, I ended up in the psych ward a couple of times after suicide attempts,” said Funk.
His drug use spiraling out of control, Funk’s wife Kim made the difficult decision to cut ties but the pain of that choice stuck with her every day.
“Every ambulance that went by I thought that could, that could be Matt,” she said.
He overdosed three times while on the streets, but one man was about to save his life.
Doug Mackenzie grew up in Duncan, a place where he too struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He now owns Options Okanagan Treatment Centre, a private rehab facility in Kelowna.
Two years ago he decided to give away two treatment packages worth $20,000 each as a way to give back to a community he was still connected to.
More than 45 people submitted their stories and after reading through them with his wife, Mackenzie selected Matt Funk and another Duncan man named Allan Dennis.
“My life was pretty much drugs and alcohol ever since a young age,” said Dennis.
His lifelong struggle was recently captured in a music video about homelessness and addiction.
Facing a life in the streets, or even death, the reality of Dennis’s situation slowly started to sink in the first time he held his baby girl.
“I was pretty much too intoxicated every day to hold her and stuff, I knew a change needed to happen,” he said.
Both men made the most of their gift and successfully completed treatment in Kelowna.
“Here we had two people who were completely hopeless, lost everything of value including themselves and today they’re living a good life,” said Mackenzie.
Allan Dennis is now working full-time as a roofer. He is back with his family and can once again hold his baby girl.
“Seeing her smile every day, the cuddles the kisses and hearing daddy is the whole weight on my shoulders like gone, it’s like I’m here and you don’t have to worry,” said Dennis.
Matt Funk is also back at home with his wife and two boys. He is a full-time student at the University of Victoria and plans to become an addictions counsellor to pass on the gift he received.
“I have to pinch myself sometimes right to see if it’s real because I didn’t think that I would be able to be in this spot again. I thought it was something I had lost for good,” he said.
He hopes his story will inspire others to reach out for help so one day they too can find their way home.
If you or a loved one are from Duncan and want to apply for the free treatment package you can email your story to [email protected]
If you are interested in recovery you can find information on government-funded addictions treatment options on Vancouver Island by clicking here.