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'I wrote my ute off while I was high on ice'

HARRY Thies found his lowest point late last year - he'd just crashed his ute while on methamphetamines and was a shell of his former self.

"That was the rock bottom for me," he said.

"I wrote my ute off, I had a car accident and I was high on ice. That's when I realised I had a problem."

On Friday, he walks out of Sunrise Way a new man, with a bright outlook and hope for the future.

Harry Thies has just complete 6 months of rehab at the centre. Sunrise Way celebrates third anniversary. July 2017
Harry Thies has just complete 6 months of rehab at the centre. Sunrise Way celebrates third anniversary. July 2017 Bev Lacey

Mr Thies, who is about to graduate from the Toowoomba rehab clinic's six month program, was one of several guests at a special event yesterday to celebrate Sunrise Way's third year in operation.

The 32-year-old former Dalby resident is now another of the facility's success stories, after spending six years trapped by ice and alcohol addiction.

"What they do here is change lives," Mr Thies said.

"It's a been a long, hard journey and there were plenty of times I wanted to quit, but they told me not to quit.

"I've got direction in my life thanks to the program and it's done wonders for me."

Wendy Agar, CEO Sunrise Way with Harry Thies who about to graduate from 6 month rehabilitation, . The rehab centre celebrates third anniversary. July 2017
Wendy Agar, CEO Sunrise Way with Harry Thies who about to graduate from 6 month rehabilitation, . The rehab centre celebrates third anniversary. July 2017 Bev Lacey

Sunrise Way CEO Wendy Agar said the clinic's existence was a triumph for the Toowoomba community, considering it spent 13 years in development hell before public funds opened it in 2014.

"The interesting thing about the Sunrise Way story is there were 13 years before we commenced operation, where this community worked really hard," she said.

"They funded it to $2 million to get this building up and running as a rehab clinic.

"There's been an incredible commitment from the whole of the Toowoomba community to get this rehab here, and it was a local private benefactor who funded us for the first three years because the organisation wasn't able to obtain public funding."

The State Government announced $600,000 worth of funding last month to support Sunrise Way for another two years, much to the delight of chairman Shane Charles.

"We're over the moon actually - three years in, it's quite incredible that we've now got funding," he said.

"It's not quite enough to meet all of our costs, so we still need some support from the public, but to get support from the now both state and federal government is overwhelming."

"We've got staff here that rely on jobs, we've got people fighting addiction and addictions are so tough to break."

Shane Charles at Sunrise Way celebrates third anniversary. July 2017
Shane Charles at Sunrise Way celebrates third anniversary. July 2017 Bev Lacey

Topics:  dalby editors picks shane charles sunrise way toowoomba


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