The Canadian Cancer Society, in partnership with the Running Room, is organizing a ten week smoking cessation program called Run to Quit that teaches participants to learn to run five kilometres, while receiving support for quitting smoking. The program culminates in a five kilometre walk or run. TheMuse had the pleasure of corresponding with the coordinator of the event, Brad Feltham.
Feltham got involved in The Canadian Cancer Society after participating in a Relay for Life event in Grade 9. Feltham says he was motivated to get involved after a family friend was diagnosed. “[I wanted] to help support my mother’s close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Feltham has coordinated Relay for Life at MUN for the past five years, and was offered the position of program coordinator for the Run to Quit Program. “Since my hiring, the program has really taken off and I hope by the end of July, the program will make a huge lasting impression on the community.”
This is the first time the Newfoundland and Labrador Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society has done the Run to Quit program, so Feltham says it will be interesting to see the results, and whether there can be any improvements made for next year’s event.
Run to Quit, which began in Ottawa in 2013, has seen success inengaging thousands of people nationwide in developing healthy lifestyles, and Feltham hopes the initiative will take similar hold in Newfoundland. The local program is still open for registration and the culminating run will take place in St. John’s in June. The starting location within the city is yet to be determined.
People of all ages and fitness levels who want to quit smoking are encouraged to join the program, which Feltham says can increase self-confidence and provide determined individuals with a reward and strong support structure to achieve their health and fitness goals.
The Canadian Cancer Society decided to push this program because according to Mr. Feltham and the organization, tobacco is one of the country’s biggest contributors to ill health. “Tobacco remains a leading cause of disease and death in Canada, and [the CCS] has always tried to be proactive in our approach to help smokers quit the habit. The Society wanted to do this to help people kick-start a healthy lifestyle while breaking an unhealthy one.”
Feltham concludes by adding that, whether you want to quit smoking yourself, or simply help a friend, family member or complete stranger, the Society and event hav room for you.“We’re here to foster healthy lifestyles for all, in any shape and form we can.”
Registration for interested participants is available at: Runtoquit.com.