Bet Free Recovery Holiday Series: Sharing Voices & Stories of Hope From Addicted Gambling, Recovery, & Resources. Betty’s Story By “The Florida Council on Problem & Compulsive Gambling”. . .

Bet Free Recovery Holiday Series: Sharing Voices & Stories of Hope From Addicted Gambling, Recovery, & Resources. Betty’s Story By “The Florida Council on Problem & Compulsive Gambling”. . .


Posted on October 14, 2020 by Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling under Domestic ViolenceMental HealthProblem Gambling Awareness

Multiple factors can influence a person to develop a gambling addiction. It is essential to know that most individuals who struggle with this addiction by no means planned to let their gambling spiral out of control. To help individuals who battle with problem gambling, we must understand the difficulties they face. Problem gambling results in far-reaching challenges beyond the financial hardships that can affect nearly every area of one’s life.

There are many ways that gambling addiction can also bring turmoil to the individuals that surround the gambler. For every case of problem gambling, 8-10 other people are also affected. Conversations about gambling addiction may be a difficult task when it comes to speaking to loved ones. However, contacts to the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine demonstrate how much pressure gambling addiction puts on relationships. 

Looking at HelpLine data from the past year, it is evident that issues such as family conflict, family neglect, and domestic violence are serious and significant impacts resulting from gambling addiction. Seventy-six percent of callers reported family conflict, and 52% indicated family neglect as a result of gambling addiction.

By listening to the stories of the brave people who have shared their stories, we can see that these impacts are much more than a statistic. When Betty White’s husband developed a gambling addiction, which is also known as the hidden addiction due to the lack of physical signs, he continually lied to her to keep his gambling a secret…

The situation escalated to the point where Betty almost lost her life due to her husband, Terry’s desperation from where gambling had taken him…

Please Watch This Video.

Surviving Compulsive Gambling: The Betty White Story
BY
Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling




In the final stages of a gambling disorder, when gamblers have exhausted all finances, credit, and bailout options, some turn to crime as a means of taking one more risk to reconcile their desperate situations. In relationships, domestic abuse can also arise as a result of problem gambling.

While it may feel as though there is no way out with gambling addiction, there are resources available for every situation, and treatment is possible. 

Many loved ones and people experiencing gambling addiction have sought help and found hope by reaching our 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling Helpline. Loved ones such as Betty have found support and hope just by picking up the phone.

If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction, know that the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine is entirely confidential and is available 24/7, and also offers multilingual support. Help and hope are just a call or click away…

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If you live in Florida? There is help and HOPE because the fine folks and my friends of The Florida on Complusive Gambling CARE. Do not hesitate to visit them here https://gamblinghelp.org/ or CALL THEM even if you are a spouse of the gambler, they will find the help you need to be safe and get help for the addicted gambler.


Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling
https://gamblinghelp.org/
Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling



FCCG History & Mission


The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling is a membership based non-profit educational and advocacy organization under contract with Florida state government.

History & Mission

The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc. (FCCG) was established in 1988 as a gaming neutral 501(c)(3) educational and advocacy corporation that serves as the designated authority under state contract on gambling addiction. Its primary mission is to:

  • Increase public awareness regarding the risks and consequences associated with gambling
  • Provide assistance to problem gamblers, their families, and others adversely impacted
  • Advocate for programs, services, funding, and other supports to address population-specific needs

The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) is committed to increasing public awareness about problem and compulsive gambling. The FCCG provides referral services and support to residents in need of assistance with a gambling addiction, as well as to professionals and others servicing this population.


” The FCCG’s primary mission is to increase public awareness about gambling addiction and to furnish support to persons in need of assistance.”


Under contract with State government, the FCCG:

  • Operates the State’s confidential 24-hour multilingual HelpLine (888-ADMIT-IT)
  • Develops and conducts prevention, education, and outreach programs
  • Designs and presents professional training opportunities
  • Trains medical and other health care practitioners to assess and treat
  • Offers resource development services
  • Sponsors and conducts research
  • Represents the public before government and other policymaking authorities
  • Works with legal authorities and law enforcement on gambling-related cases
  • Oversees a Speakers Bureau and a Peer Connect program


Thankfully, help is available and gambling addiction can be treated if recognized. If you need assistance, contact our 24 hour, confidential Helpline 888-ADMIT-IT(888-236-4848) for resources and support. To hear more stories and voices of gambling and recovery visit & subscribe to FCCG on YOUTUBE https://www.youtube.com/user/fccg888/videos


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What An Amazing Day 2 Recovery Out Loud With Big Jim’s Biking America 4 Addiction Awareness Here In Phoenix, AZ

What An Amazing Day 2 Recovery Out Loud With Big Jim’s Biking America 4 Addiction Awareness Here In Phoenix, AZ

Welcome Recovery Friends and New Visitors, Now Friends!

So, I have to APOLOGIZE to everyone for not being here or posting the last week or so as I was on Event High Alert! As not only am I handling the news media for my dear friends Jim Downs and Marisol but also Social Media Manager so I was busy pulling together “Big Jim’s Biking America 4 Addiction Awareness and Peddling Hope” Tour Event as he finally made it from Fort Meyers, Florida to the State Capitol in Phoenix, AZ, and not far from where I live!

And it was such an amazing day for me and my hubby. To share all that happened and what all took place may take me TWO POSTS!! LOL! There were permits to get, insurance for the day of the event, making hotel reservations and MORE. I sure learned a lot that I can now use for marketing and promoting all my authors! 

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I was happy and honored to be one of the Keynote Speakers for the event and book-signing benefit for Big Jim. We had some amazing speakers and guests that accepted my invite and flew here on their DIME just to help me and Big Jim’s Addiction cause. Just one man on a bike peddling all of 2019 and sharing a message of HOPE to the all 48 lower State Capitols in the United States. He has 12 State Capitols now visited and the next is Santa Fe, New Mexico. As he has biked over 4,780 MILES ALREADY.

This man has AUDACITY and CARES about those who may be “touched” or suffering from ANY ADDICTION, including mine from Gambling Addiction. I also shared some of what took place and who attended in my next months’ article for “Keys To Recovery” newspaper, which is FREE by the way, and who is sponsoring Big Jim with printing his State Capitol Events and Schedule. So I’m letting you all have a sneak peek. I’ll be doing another post very soon!   ~CAT

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 Why do I advocate?

Why do I not remain anonymous?
Is it looking for fame or status?
Is it to gain more Facebook “likes” and followers?
NOPE, not when 1 in 5 addicted gamblings try suicide. . .

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I advocate because I have maintained recovery from addicted gambling for just over 12-yrs and want to share my personal experiences, strength, and HOPE to others as a form of “Paying It Forward” to others who may be in the same place I was all those years ago. HOPELESS, broken, sick, and giving up on life. That is what the disease of addiction does. It breaks you until one day you look in the mirror and don’t know who that person is anymore looking back at you.

I was a shell, just a body with nothing inside it any longer. No feelings, no love, no caring, no humor or laughter anymore, as I was barely even breathing. Nothing mattered to me except when and where was I gamble again. Where and how could I get the money to do so? Would I have to pawn or sell more valuables? Would I have to lie to get more money? Would I have to steal money out of my husband’s wallet AGAIN?

I recall still the day that had changed my life. It was the day I learned about the video poker machines all over the place in Southern Oregon where I had lived for over 25-yrs. It is where I moved from and met and married my husband. To begin a family and have a great career. Little did I know that one day would shatter my life to pieces. Yes, after this one day. I used to go to this little deli with my best friend who had just moved to Oregon and begin a new life as I did years prior.

We go there to have lunch together on Saturday’s. I happen to walk over to refill my soda when I saw a retired older man I’d seen there at the deli with a couple of his retired buddies also having lunch, and many times before. He was playing a poker game on the machine called “Flush Fever.” He was doing pretty good on the machine. He was up on the game about a couple of hundred dollars. I watched a few minutes. He cashed out his ticket and then put a five dollar bill in and off the machine went! He got right into another bonus. So I asked what he was playing?

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He told me “Flush Fever.” It looked rather fun, so I sat down on the machine next to him. I put a five dollar bill in and BAM! I also got into a bonus right away. Here is what I never forgot and changed my life. As he got up from his poker machine, he leaned into my ear and said to me, “you make sure you cash out and take their money home with you. I’d feel bad if you got hooked on these damn machines.”

I never did see the retired guy and his friends again after that day. If he only knew the hell, I went through with addicted gambling for the next eleven years after that day.


So today, I recover out loud. Like I did at Big Jim’s event. I advocate sharing a message of to those who are feeling hopeless, broken, lost, and having feelings of “no way out” of the black hole we dig ourselves into from gambling addiction. It is why I was honored to be asked to speak and part of Big Jim’s Ride Around America 4 Addiction Awareness last month with some recovery special guest keynote speakers. Many have been recovery supporters of mine, and I met new friends too here at the State Capitol Event in Phoenix, AZ.

One of the most amazing days of my recovery journey thus far! We all came together in unity and caring for those still suffering from all addictions. Big Jim had the fantastic “Beast” former NFL Tampa Bay Buc #60, Randy Grimes and his wife Lydia was so sweet who has a caring soul, and both her Randy have a huge heart. I was elated, and I look forward to many years of friendship with them.

I was more than excited to finally meet and spend time with Big Jim and Marisol, BFF! Simply a fantastic few days with them and NOT long enough. Lol. So I plan to continue to push through my fear of speaking and my agoraphobia due to the several “peep talks” I got from Big Jim and my hubby to make some other of Big Jim’s events!!

All the days and the event for Jim are hard to describe. It was like floating on air from all the love and support from everyone! I will keep all the memories in my heart forever. All I can say is the whole event and meeting everyone like Darren nPrincesinger/artist Jackson Pierce were all ‘Recovery Blessings given by GOD,’ and I will treasure and always keep close. They will help keep me in my recovery and continue to “Quit To Win.”

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Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Big Jim Downs Visits Austin, Texas State Capitol Today and The News Is AMAZING.

Welcome Recovery Friends!

It is no secret that I am “being of recovery service” as media manager to a couple who is fighting this Addictions Crisis in America with all that they have! Literally. We have been friends, Big Jim and Marisol Downs for almost three 1/2 years.  I met Jim while he was accomplishing his first event of “Walking Across America 4 Addiction Awareness.” He had just finished his own 16-month treatment and recovery program while living in a faith-based rescue mission. He had finally had enough of drugging and drinking after 34 years of it! He was at the bottom after an anger rage he couldn’t remember after it happened.

He decided it was time for him to get help, for him and GOD to have a long conversation about his life and what was it he was missing? It was FAITH. He walked to be able to hear and get closer to GOD. He was redeemed from addictions, but without GOD in his life? He surely knew he would relapse and that to JIM was not going to happen. So he went for a walk from Panama City FL. to Canada! When Jim finished the “walk,” he founded and began “Big Jim’s Walk Inc.”

Now, with a new mission from God and years maintaining recovery, Big Jim is now “Biking Around America 4 Addiction Awareness and with powerful recovery support and treatment team behind him. He has already in just 2 and half months saved 41 lives from addictions who reached out to him while biking around America!

And? Well, I think I will let you read the rest of the “Ride” story courtesy of “The Eagle” newspaper located outside Houston, Texas as that is WHERE Big Jim has made it to and will be speaking on the State Capitol Steps in Austin, Texas today!! I would like to invite all who are my supporters of this blog go Donate and support Big Jim Downs as he riding for MY Addiction I am recovering from as MARCH is Problem Gambling Awareness Month! Jim and Marisol are doing this ride on the kindness of people who know this addiction crisis in America is reaching everyone’s communities and claiming too many precious LIVES.

So I invite you to contribute and I THANK YOU in advance and donate here on Big Jim’s Fundraiser on the Official Website of Big Jim’s Walk Foundation. 

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PEDALING FOR HOPE

Addiction-recovery advocate makes unexpected Bryan-College Station, Texas stop…

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“Now five years clean, 50-year-old Jim Downs is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.”

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Jim Downs battled the long road of drug and alcohol addiction for more than 30 years before finding rescue in a faith-based recovery program.


Now five years clean, the 50-year-old Florida
man is hiking and cycling across the country to share his heart and testimony of hope with other addicts, and he has a mission to visit the steps of every state capitol in the continental United States this year.

On the way to Austin on Thursday, Downs’ bright yellow-green Performer JC26X recumbent trike blew a tire just outside Bryan-College Station. His wife, Marisol, who was driving the couple’s car, met up with her husband in Bryan so he could strap the trike to the vehicle roof and take it for repairs.

Marisol often has to stay back in Florida to work while Jim makes his long journey, but she tries hard to follow her partner in the car when she can, hoping to help him if he runs into trouble. Sometimes she’s able to travel ahead of him and let recovery centers and news outlets in the local area know Jim will be pedaling into town.

The couple runs the charity organization known as Big Jim’s Walk and is in the paperwork process of having the group designated formally as a 501(c) nonprofit, Marisol said. The program started just two years ago when the couple decided to embark on a charity walk together from Florida to the Canadian border, talking to drug and alcohol addicts they met on the way and connecting them to recovery programs.

Now the organization is staffed by several people who have access to a catalog of addiction recovery programs throughout the country. When they meet an addict on a trip, they connect the addict to a long-term recovery program that will care for that person free of charge.

So far, they have helped 42 people since 2017 and have spoken with both small-town politicians and high-ranking state elected officials about funding for sober living and addiction programs.

Jim said that while he took a quick stop in Bryan to deal with the broken trike, he wanted to share his story with the people of the area via media outlets, hoping his testimony could help anyone in the Brazos Valley battling some kind of addiction and needing hope.

Jim was raised in California by what he described as a stable middle-class family and had never witnessed drug or alcohol abuse. But, he says, family issues led him to turn to drugs at school to deal with emotional problems. Having first tried illicit substances at 12, he eventually spiraled out of control and was an addict for 34 years.

He attempted suicide five times, was fired from jobs, was homeless at times and was repeatedly arrested, he said. He said he eventually let down his children and takes responsibility for leading one of his kids into methamphetamine addiction.

After enduring a psychotic blackout just over four years ago, he decided to reach out to Panama City Rescue Mission in Florida, a faith-based recovery program.

“I went in with a chip on my shoulder about recovery and an attitude of ‘I’m only doing this once,’ especially since I’d had heard people say they did it four or five times,” he said. “… Getting a relationship with God and working the 12-step addiction program through that relationship, I was digging deep and dealing with the root cause of all of it — a sense of abandonment.”

Recovery was not a simple process. Jim explained that recovery takes work and dedication, and lots of support from friends and family members who are not addicts. Jim said he would like to see more opportunities for those battling addiction to enter a recovery program that looks at the long-term healing process beyond the initial days of detoxification.

His mission as a sober man riding his bike cross-country is to connect the people he meets with the services that will help them in the same way he was helped. If those services aren’t available to a person in their immediate area, Jim stressed his organization will pay for that person to be bused to a town where they can receive treatment.

“The objective is to let everyone out there know that I get it,” he said. “I’ve been homeless, eaten out of garbage cans, done dope most of my life. I encourage people through my testimony and let them know they don’t have to live that way and there is hope. Then I offer them free recovery.”

The couple planned to drive on Thursday night to Austin, where Jim could have his trike wheel repaired. Next stop after speaking in Austin: Phoenix, where he plans to keep passing on the message of hope.

To reach out to Jim and Marisol Downs and learn more about their charity, visit bigjimswalk.com.

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“Being of Recovery Service”~ Meet Jim Downs and His Wife Marisol of “Big Jim’s Walk, Inc.” Doing God’s Work To Stamp out ADDICTION.

“Being of Recovery Service”~ Meet Jim Downs and His Wife Marisol of “Big Jim’s Walk, Inc.” Doing God’s Work To Stamp out ADDICTION.

Hello Recovery Friends, Family, and Warrior Advocates,

 

I am happy and blessed to announce that I have accepted a volunteer position with “Big Jim’s Ride Around America!” Founder, Jim Downs and his beautiful wife Marisol are ready to embark on their next “Journey of Hope” and the second addiction awareness event through Big Jim’s Walk Inc., Foundation! I met Big Jim and Marisol last year while Jim was in the middle of his walk.

I could not believe why he was doing what he was doing and I thought this guy is crazy! But once I visited his website and Facebook as I watched via his sharing his journey by FB Live videos, I knew there was something very special about Big Jim. God was working through this man right before my very eyes. God called upon this big gentle guy to speak to the masses and help an addict get help through a spiritual path and to let “Jesus” take the wheel.

I can tell you, while on this walk, so many people were amazing to help Jim along the way. I saw the trials and roadblocks that came his way like not having enough money to sleep somewhere, camper problems or just to get a hot meal. But then, all watching including myself would rally on social media and BAM! People began donating right then and there and helped out to get it DONE!!

It was such a blessing to watch!  It was like watching GOD in action provide the blessings and solutions to help Jim on his path of walking to raise awareness and help shatter the stigma of addictions and to share that God, through his son Jesus Christ loves everyone, even those riddled with addictions!

So I began to help some and share where he was and what he was doing through social media just trying to help out a little. So let me share a little of his story with you now as he and Marisol gear up for the next event!

In doing so, I hope it will help inspires ALL OF YOU to help this amazing man and come aboard and be a part of the “The Big Jim’s Foundation Team!” as there are many ways you can like these amazing “Sponsors have already.”  Read more about this event and will welcome you aboard! ~Catherine

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“Big Jim, aka, Jim Downs stand is for love of God, family, and his recovery by raising awareness of the addiction epidemic, saving lives from addiction while shattering stigma through Jesus Christ, his Savior.”

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Jim Downs was not born into wealth, fame, or to an athletic family. Quite the contrary.

His hard life began at birth, as a child of God, but sadly an unwanted pregnancy and was given up right after his birth. When Jim turned three months old, new parents adopted Jim. His new parents welcomed him as he grew to be ‘the apple of his father’s eyes,” Then, tragically at three and a half years old, his father passed away, leaving him with only his mother.  A year and a half later she remarried, and his new adopted father never embraced him, Jim started feeling unloved and a profound sense of abandonment, a constant burden to his second father that lasted many years until his father’s passing.

Some of the underlying roots to why he may have turned to addictions while growing up. A need to numb the pain, haunting’s, and hurt as a child. Unbeknownst to Jim, his ‘Holy Father’ above was watching and waiting for him.  Jim began looking for anything to fill that void and feelings of emptiness, at 12-years old he started drinking alcohol and smoking weed. It progressed and at 14 -years-old he turned to hard drugs.  Meth became his demon.  All the while, God had been walking next to him.

Side by side, God traveled Jim’s road with him, the years of destruction and self-sabotage.  God never left him, Jim didn’t know who he was.  Besides, as addicts, we feel the massive shame and guilt of turning our backs on God as Jim had. Thinking; “how can God love or care about a man who lies, cheats, causes pain to others and a hopeless drug user like me?”

Then, a ‘Miracle,’ as homeless and deep within many of his addictions, Jim had seen a sliver of light that God had opened up for him.  He reached out to that light, and he entered a treatment program in Panama City, FL.  Here is where his life transformation and conviction within Christ began.  At that moment he chose life and walked into a recovery program at The Panama City Rescue Mission.

His first blessing and miracle from God.  Jim began treatment learning the recovery tools and skills that aid his recovery still today, but another test and trial came by way of losing his best friend Alex Peters only 4-months into his treatment.  At a crossroad, Jim not only felt Gods spirit in him but the stirring for his ‘Second Miracle’ was building that included losing Alex!  This lit a fire in him as God revealed and gave Jim his real mission and life purpose.

And so it began, “Big Jim’s Walk Across America.”

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After 16 months in the addiction recovery program, Jim left The Panama City Rescue Mission at 7 a.m., Feb. 1, 2017, and embarked on an eight-month walk/hike leaving the front door of the center. Going from Panama City, Florida, to Canada by walking “The Appalachian Trail” beginning in Georgia.  Why?  It would be his aftercare program like no other to keep him stable within recovery through his faith.  Jim said it best;  “I want anyone who is in the final phase of their recovery program to remember this event and be empowered not to go back to their ‘old life’ when they leave any recovery program,”

Jim said. “They need to step out within faith and let God guide them to a new way of life. There is life after addiction.

Jim shares;  “this hike and walk will be a spiritual journey for me, bringing me closer to God.”  “I’m out here to find myself, who I am, what I stand for.”  Jim did complete his walk and even got off the trail as God asked him to.  “God wanted me on the road, not a trail to talk to others and raise awareness of addiction.”  He did in honor of his best friend Alex who died of a drug overdose and seeing Alex’s family left heartbroken.

Along the walk, Jim carried a large wooden cross part of the way. Jim said;  “since God asked, I will witness and testify to anyone that will listen to me about how I turned to, and I accepted ‘Jesus Christ’ into my life as my Lord and Savior, He changed me and the life I live.”

As his walk continued a ‘Third Miracle’ was coming as God had a big one in mind for Big Jim that would knock him off his feet!  Before his walk, God had chosen an “Angel” who was watching on social media.  This angel told her mother she was watching Jim’s walk because she wanted to see how God, through Jim, was using him and guiding this “Big Guy” to share hope, witness, and educate those he spoke with and met along the way.

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This “Angel” is Marisol Lozano.  They slowly began a penpal friendship that of course, later on, turned into a beautiful relationship and a marriage along the walk.  An extra-special one as a prophet married them. Their beautiful prophetic ceremony solidified them to one another and brought them even closer to their ‘Heavenly Father.’  Jim completed his “Walk Across America” ending in Canada with God and his “angel”  Marisol Lozano by his side.

Today, Big Jim and Marisol along with an amazing Big Jim’s team is already in place and working hard before Jim embarks on the next “Miracle and Mission” God has called upon them to accomplish. This one is already shaping up to be bigger than the walk, more significant than we could ever imagine!

“Announcing “Big Jim’s Ride Around America ~ Jim Bikes America 4 Addiction Awareness.”

Jim will bike around America to raise awareness of the epidemic of addiction. Big thanks to Performer Cycles, so on Jan 1, 2019, Jim will leave from the steps of The Fort Myers Florida City Hall on a bicycle and pedal addiction awareness to all the lower 48 state capitals. Almost 14,000 miles in one year!

The event will be filmed courtesy of Bethel Film Production as Jim encourages thousands to enter recovery, bring communities together to fight for those struggling with any addiction as they share their stories and voices. Jim will talk with ‘State Capitol Politicians’ in hopes of changing the way they approach and pass legislation of addiction bills and issues.

You can help The Ride by Donating or Purchasing Jim’s Gear ~ And Help #BuildTheRecoveryHype 

Visit Big Jims’s Walk Foundation Website and Donate Today.

Become a #Sponsor of this event by contacting Marisol Lozano lozanomarisol2627@gmail.com or call her at (

Now you purchase Jim’s Gear and Equipment as a #FaithDonation right on FB Courtesy of  REI -Co op Outdoor & Sporting Goods Company! Located in Seattle, WA.

Everyone can Jim and Marisol get “Big Jim’s Walk Foundation” filed as a Non-Profit here at our Go Fund Me 501c3 Filing!

We #ThankYou in advance for your support with helping Jim stamp out addiction and PLEASE..please watch and share our ‘Official Video and Announcement’ for “Big Jim’s Year Long Ride Around America.”


God Bless,

Catherine Lyon ~ Social Media Manager “Big Jim’s Ride.”