Former smoker helps folks quitPublished 10:30pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Just in time to revive a New Year resolution top of the list for many, a Suffolk woman will facilitate a quit-smoking program beginning Jan. 21.
Sandra Sullivan had smoked since the age of 15 before successfully quitting in 2006, just before turning 62.
“February 20 — I will never forget that day,” she said.
After many false starts — “about every Sunday” — Sullivan said she was able to kick her pack-a-day habit with a program “more or less” the same as the one she now leads.
A man named Ray Hartless facilitated it, and afterward, he asked her to help him continue delivering it, Sullivan said.
“It’s never too late to stop,” she said.
At Western Tidewater Free Clinic, 2019 Meade Parkway, the program involves eight classes from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays through March 4, as well as Thursday, Feb. 13.
Sullivan, who runs program about twice a year, said this would be her first since becoming a certified facilitator for the American Lung Association’s Free From Smoking program.
Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community sponsors the program in Suffolk, meaning it costs the 10 participants nothing.
“The partnership feels that if we are in the business of trying to improve the health of our community, this is one prime area where we can help people making a lifestyle change,” said Robbie Laughton, partnership executive director.
“We were initially asked by the (association) to offer the class at a charge, to cover materials, but the Suffolk partnership felt we had been offering classes for free in the past, and we want to continue offering them free so that we can get the best opportunity to have people participate.”
The program covers various aspects of quitting smoking, Sullivan said, including “the habit and the emotional part.”
Participants actually quit Feb. 4 – the third session – and the remaining ones are follow-up sessions, she said.
Sullivan said she quit simply to improve her quality of life, not due to any serious health problems.
She soon changed her lifestyle, she said, joining the Suffolk Family YMCA, which she continues to visit almost daily. “That’s what really kept me not wanting to smoke again,” she added.
Instead of smoking, Sullivan said, she now “tries different things … something I have never done before.”
She went paddleboarding last summer — “I’m going to work on that so I can get a little bit better this year” — and has taken up cycling.
“When I first quit smoking, I actually did a 5K, and that was a first,” she said.
For more information on the program, or to reserve a spot, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 539-1525.