Running to quit smoking pays off

19 September 2016

Toronto -

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, a program that incorporates walking or running classes to help increase the chances of success. In addition to a healthier, active lifestyle, Kathryn can now also enjoy a new 2016 Ford Focus hatchback.

A smoker for more than 22 years, she had tried several times to quit smoking. But it wasn’t until the eve of her 50th birthday when she lost a close friend to cancer, that 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 first of 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 packa day, she is funding her tuition as she pursues a masters degree in library science.

In its inaugural year, 1,076 smokers from across Canada joined Run to Quit, a new program funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada following a successful pilot program in 2013. In addition to the grand prize of the Ford Focus, 5 smoke-free participants will each be awarded a cash prize of $1,000.

About Run to Quit

Run to Quit is an innovative program that offers peer support for quitting smoking with community running and walking training programs as well as cash prize incentives. Launched earlier this year, Run to Quit training programs were held April to June at 21 Running Room locations across Canada and will expand to more than 100 locations by 2018. For more information and to register visit RuntoQuit.com or call 1 800-419-2906 ext 264.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

About Running Room

The Running Room is proudly a family-owned company. It originated in 1984 out of founder John Stanton’s wish to purchase quality running shoes from someone knowledgeable about the sport.

A 3-km fun run with his sons in 1981 was the catalyst for the then-out-of-shape, overweight John Stanton to realize he had to change his lifestyle. A food industry executive who smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day, he began running secretly before dawn because he felt self-conscious about having his neighbours see “this chubby little guy” who could only run from lamppost to lamppost before having to take a walk break.

New to the sport of running, John had a thirst for knowledge as well as a desire to buy the right product. This entrepreneurial retailer decided to fill a niche in the marketplace by opening a small one-room store in the renovated living room of an old house in Edmonton – hence the name, “Running Room.” The concept was highly successful, and the stores have since expanded to over 117 locations across Canada and the United States.

About the Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s mission is to promote and protect the health of Canadians. The Agency’s activities focus on preventing chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease, preventing injuries and responding to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks.

This project is funded in part through the Agency’s Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Promote Healthy Living and Prevent Chronic Disease initiative. Each year, approximately $20 million is invested towards projects that address the common risk factors for chronic disease, including unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and tobacco use.

About McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. markets a broad range of well-known and trusted over-the-counter products. McNeil Consumer Healthcare is most widely recognized for the TYLENOL® brand. Other McNeil Consumer Healthcare brands include NICODERM® and NICORETTE® Nicotine Replacement Therapies; BENADRYL® and REACTINE® allergy medicines; IMODIUM® antidiarrheal; PEPCID® and ZANTAC® for digestive health; and MOTRIN® Ibuprofen.

For more information, please contact:

Susan Fekete
Communications Specialist
Canadian Cancer Society
Phone: 613-565-2522