In 2018, Kallup McCoy wanted to participate in the Remember the Removal bike ride, a journey along the Trail of Tears created by the Cherokee Nation. He was denied access because of a felony on his record, the result from 14 years of opioid addiction.
Unable to ride the route, McCoy was determined to run it on his own. McCoy did so, running over 800 miles over 40 days.
Lisa Antel, director of the Counseling Center explained how she brought McCoy to Post. “I asked Aubry (Fappiano) to do some research on interesting substance abuse speakers. She came up with a few people I had heard of and then she found Kallup. She actually found him on Facebook. His story intrigued me. I was also drawn to his Cherokee heritage, running the Trail of Tears, and training for the Olympics. I arranged a phone call with Kallup the day after he ran the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Run. It was the phone call with him that hooked me. We had a wonderful, meaningful, and authentic conversation. We really connected. I was moved by his message of hope, humility, positive relationships, building one’s life resume, and living a life of service. I thought he had a story that would inspire and impact our students,” explained Antel.
On Sunday, August 29, McCoy was on campus speaking with students where he shared his story about overcoming drug addiction, reminding students to challenge themselves and the importance of surrounding themselves with positive people.
Speaking from the Drubner Athletic Center to student-athletes, McCoy said, “Your network is your net worth. If you want to achieve, to build your life resume put it on your calendar and challenge yourself. That’s going to help you get to your purpose.” McCoy’s address was live-streamed across the campus to orientation groups and in residence halls.
Post women’s lacrosse senior Molly Dobratz enjoyed hearing McCoy’s message.
“It was very relatable,” Dobratz explained. “We understand the effects of peer pressure. How he reached out for help and how he turned his life around with such a positive outcome. He was great.”
As McCoy wrote on his Instagram post (@_recoverylion86) following his remarks to University students, “I love to encourage and inspire other people, and having the students come up to me afterward and share their hearts never gets old.”
On Saturday afternoon, McCoy double-knotted his sneakers and ran with the Post Cross Country team on a trail run.
McCoy’s goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Trials in the half-marathon. He keeps himself busy with training for that and working at RezHOPE, an organization he founded along with his wife.