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Lesley Pregenzer of FAVOR Upstate receives 2023 Healthcare Transformation Award


by Liv Osby

FAVOR Upstate transforms lives through recovery services


After a lifetime of alcohol dependence, Lesley Pregenzer awoke one morning with an epiphany. At age 42, she knew she couldn’t continue living her life with an addiction.

With help, she found a way toward recovery and healing. Today, she offers that same gift to others, leading an organization that helps people recover from substance use disorders like the one she once experienced.

Since its launch in 2013, FAVOR Upstate—which stands for Faces and Voices of Recovery—has helped more than 53,000 people, or more than 5,000 people per year in the Upstate, the group reports.

Pregenzer grew up in California and has been at FAVOR about a year and a half. In that time, building on the group’s previous work, FAVOR has grown from a staff of 38 to 51, aided by grants, including a substantial award from the Greenville Health Authority.

Another FAVOR program places recovery coaches in ERs to help patients who have overdosed. It has grown to nine hospitals and regular shifts instead of on-call coaches, she says. The program benefits the patients, the hospitals, and the FAVOR coaches, Pregenzer says, adding that 151 ER patients were identified as needing help in August alone.

“We’ve become an active member of that team,” she says. “We’re also able to educate hospital staff on the value of recovery.”

Pregenzer is proud of establishing relationships with other agencies and providers who bring their own passion and value to the table. For example, FAVOR has forged a formal partnership with The Phoenix Center to help patients looking for withdrawal management when the center is full.

“They now hand them off to FAVOR and we . . .  act as support until they can get into detox,” she says. “So far, we’ve had 107 handoffs to us.”

Pregenzer says it was “overwhelming” that Prisma recognized FAVOR for the Healthcare Transformation Award. “We are able to offer the gift of recovery to people who otherwise wouldn’t know there is a different way to live,” she says. “We are helping people transform their lives, so they won’t show up in the [ER] anymore and are back to being contributing members of society.”

Pregenzer says she’s been in recovery since May 24, 2010. At that point, she was a widow with two children, and she asked her mother to help her find the resources she needed to start her recovery journey. “When I found recovery is when I found my true passion,” she says. “I knew I wanted to help others find it the way I did.”


A Pathway To Recovery

FAVOR Upstate provides free addiction recovery services to individuals and family members suffering with substance use disorders.

FAVOR Upstate offers dozens of recovery meetings every month in Greenville, Anderson, Oconee, and Spartanburg counties.

FAVOR Upstate features trained coaches to support people in recovery.

FAVOR Upstate also has coaches who serve in area ERs to help those who’ve overdosed find a path to recovery.

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