Philly family turns personal tragedy into mission to help others

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia family is turning personal tragedy into a mission to help others.

Denise McCammitt, of Somerton, says her world and her family changed forever after her cousin Maggie passed away suddenly in May of 2019.

Maggie had relapsed and overdosed while in a recovery house at only 35 years old. And since this wasn't the first family member of theirs to battle with addiction, they knew they couldn't stand idle any longer.

"After her service is when we had a big family sit down and we decided that we no longer want to live in the problem and try to live in the solution," said McCammitt.

By August of that same year, a little less than four months later, the family created the nonprofit, SPARC. It stands for Servicing People Around the Recovery Community.

"Statistics show within the first 90 days if they don't get that support, they will relapse or unfortunately overdose and die," said McCammitt. "Our system is so broken, there are so many people that are unfortunately in addiction that really do want recovery that don't always have the resources."

SPARC provides those resources. Through donations, the organization will give a full scholarship to an individual to stay in a recovery house for 90 days. So far, they've successfully put seven people through a rehabilitation program.

"Sometimes just simply going and listening and offering a hand is enough to give them some hope that there is help, there is good people out there. If you're not ready at that moment, we have a conversation and they go home with my phone number," said McCammitt.

Additionally, they supply sponsorships, mentoring, resume writing. And the part that McCammitt says matters most: family.

"We are family run, so everybody that is sponsored is our family," she says. "I want it to be something that people will feel as though they're at home. My dream is to pull somebody that is hopeless and give them hope to give them success to pull them back and into SPARC and continue to do our work to grow the organization."
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