Friday, August 29, 2008

Smoking at cancer community events

To say everyone is different is and understatement. Over the last month I have been able to attend two of the best cancer community events LIVESTRONG Summit and the LIVESTRONG Challenge. It is at these events I have gotten to speak with people who are amazing and others who, let’s just say do not get it!

When I was at the Summit one morning I came out to get onto the shuttle to head over and help with registration and I saw a delegate sitting on a bench wearing a Vote-Yellow t-shirt smoking. Yes, you read it correctly I said she was smoking. I kept walking and ever since seeing it I still cannot understand WHY she even attended the Summit. A delegate is there to serve the cancer community, help make change and lead by example. This lady certainly does not get it.

This past weekend I was at the Philly Challenge and while we watched the cyclist start the Challenge Team Down One members all noticed a distinct smell of cigarettes. It was a few minutes later we notice an older lady right next to our tent smoking away while he smoke went right in our faces. Again, she is at an event to fight cancer and she is smoking.

We all know smoking is the #1 cause of lung cancer. Why do these people do it? Well, I can speak from personal bad judgment and say it is very addictive.

I started smoking as a 12 year old and what started as “the cool thing to do” turned into one nasty habit. I was never a 1-2 pack a day guy, but I did smoke for many years. Luckily I was able to quit cold turkey. I did nothing special. I just stopped killing myself. Now, and even more so since being a cancer survivor, I cannot stand the smell of it and I never have an urge to do it.

I know I cannot make people stop, but I can ask them not to do it at cancer community events like the Summit and Challenge. At the very least people should understand that when you are at an event to fight cancer you should never smoke.