Kathryn Walks

British Columbia

Denman In-Store Training Program Participant and 2016 Grand Prize Winner

Kathryn Walks can teach her students a valuable first-hand lesson for the start of the new school year – hard work pays off, and sometimes in more ways than expected. The John Oliver Secondary School teacher stopped smoking for good after joining Run to Quit. In addition to a healthier, active lifestyle, she can now also enjoy a new 2016 Ford Focus hatchback.

A smoker for more than 22 years, Kathryn had tried several times to quit smoking. But it wasn’t until, on the eve of her 50th birthday, she lost a close friend to cancer. She decided that she needed to find a way to finally end her addiction to tobacco.

“The Run to Quit program really appealed to me because it provides a gradual process of quitting smoking while also getting you to enjoy the benefits of becoming physically active. It wasn’t just about taking something away. It was about adding a positive to my life,” says Kathryn. “I accomplished my ultimate goal of being healthier – the car is just such an unexpected bonus.”

Her milestone birthday was only the start of the many significant accomplishments she would make this year. She quit smoking by Week 5 of the 10-week training program. She also ran her first 5K. Cigarettes no longer control her life and she’s able to socialize with friends without having to duck out or plan around a smoke-break. And with the money she’s saved from buying a pack-a-day, she is funding her tuition as she pursues a Masters in Library Science.