Brenda Sparks

Hamilton, Ontario

She posted it on Facebook. She knew that once she put it out there for everyone to see, she couldn’t go back. Brenda Sparks’ new status read: “30 days smoke-free”. In spite of this accomplishment, she questioned herself. Was she now really a non-smoker?

The Hamilton woman had good reason to question herself. Brenda had been a smoker for more than 30 years. She had quit in the past, for instance when she was pregnant with her kids. Her son and daughter, now in their early 20’s, wanted her to quit. Brenda would try but stress and going out with friends who all smoked would cause her to start again.

By the winter of 2016, Brenda began to feel unwell and was wheezing and coughing, fearing for her health she decided to quit smoking and start exercising. While looking online, she found the Run to Quit program, which incorporates physical activity training with a quit smoking plan, to greatly increase a person changes of quitting smoking and improving their overall health. Exercise reduces cravings and also helps manage withdrawal symptoms.

Brenda registered for one of program’s 10-week long clinics offered at a Running Room store in her community. Brenda enjoyed the social aspect of the program, chatting with everyone, comparing experiences and going for runs together afterwards. “My Running Room clinic group was the key success factor for me in quitting smoking this time. It meant that I had somebody to be accountable to. It was also helpful knowing that they were going through the same things as me. It made me want to quit. I didn’t want to disappoint them.”

With information she gained in Run to Quit, Brenda now understands why she smoked before and most importantly, has found skills and resources for staying smoke-free.