Recovery Walks a legacy of its founder

By WEEK Producer

September 22, 2012 Updated Sep 24, 2012 at 2:51 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Jessica Zahn is an addict. Her vice isn't drugs or alcohol. Instead, she's addicted to shopping.

"I spend at least $3,000 every month and I only work a part-time job," admitted Zahn. "I've gotten myself in quite a bit of debt."

But recently, Jessica began spending her money on treatment. She came to the Ameel Rashid Center for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital.

Dr. Rashid, who passed away last year, was a pioneer in the field of addiction medicine. As part of that work he established an event known as the Recovery Walks to raise money for patients who can't afford treatment of their addiction.

"They started a scholarship fund for those who don't have the means privately to pay or don't have the insurance," said Ameel Rashid's son, Greg. "The scholarship fund helps get people through the program."

Phil Scherer has completed that program. He got hooked on drugs and alcohol as a teenager and not only conquered his addiction, but Scherer is now the administrative director of the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery.

Scherer says the latest phenomenon is technology addiction.

"In a lot of ways, its similar to what a chemical addiction will do from a social standpoint. It takes up too much time, people begin to give up important things in their life like relationships, recreational activities, school. They don't go to class sometimes. People stay up days at a time on a game system," said Scherer.

Saturday's Recovery Walks was the 6th annual. It's grown gradually each year with organizers hoping for a turnout of about 500. Their goal is to raise $25,000 for the Ameel Rashid Scholarship Fund.