People: Interesting local residents in our community

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Quitting smoking is something most people fail at – many times – before eventually succeeding.

Unfortunately, the addiction is too powerful for some.

However, Patti VanDenBossche was able to kick the habit after 20 years of smoking off and on.

“I stopped when I found out I was pregnant with (my daughter) Rebecca – that was it,” she said. “That was enough incentive for me.”

Being 41 when she was pregnant, VanDenBossche said she didn't want to give her child “a lesser opportunity to be healthy at birth.”

Today, Rebecca is 11-years-old, and a healthy child. She also is pretty happy with her mother, who won an iPad Mini for being one of more than 1,000 individuals and groups who have pledged to make Chatham-Kent smoke-free for the next generation. Her name was drawn for the prize.

She was recognized by the Chatham-Kent Community Leader's Cabinet and the CK Parks and Recreation Stay 'N' Play campers during an event on Wednesday at Kingston Park in Chatham.

VanDenBossche may have been chosen at random, but her personal pledge hits the mark when it comes to making the community smoke-free.

“I am tobacco-free and encourage all to be,” she wrote. “Second-hand smoke is dangerous to all of us. Let's discourage smoking in parks and the entrances of buildings as a first step. My pledge is important to me as my daughter deserves a health smoke-free life.”

VanDenBossche said it actually wasn't too difficult for her to quit smoking 11-years ago. She admitted one drawback was she gained weight.

She also didn't suffer much of a physical addiction.

“I would want (a cigarette), but it wasn't such an over-driving need that I couldn't substitute something else at that point,” she said.

VanDenBossche believes finding something else to compensate for that craving for nicotine, such as having a lollipop, mint or piece of gum, can help smokers work through the difficulty of quitting.

“Be strong-willed, don't cave,” she said.

She added it's also important to have a good support system around you with your family and friends to encourage you. She also suggests setting up a bonus system to reward yourself with a treat if you remain smoke-free for a certain time.

Mayor Randy Hope was on hand when VanDenBossche was recognized.

He took the tobacco-free pledge to quit smoking, but admits it has been difficult, especially with the stress life can bring sometime.

However, he said he is not giving up.

“I had a slip,” Hope said . . . “but I'm still committed to making my change and that's the important thing.”

 

LEARING FROM SCAVENGER HUNT

 

There's nothing like a good scavenger hunt.

However, the folks at the Adult Language and Learning Centre, which focuses its efforts on newcomers to the community, used the game as learning experience for youngsters on Wednesday.

Kristen Beecroft, a youth worker at the agency, said, “the goal is to get them out exploring where they live.”

She noted the scavenger hunt took the youth to the post office, library, some restaurants and other stores in downtown Chatham, as well as Branch 628 Legion.

Asha Adan, 14, whose parents come from Somalia, and Ruba Merheb, 12 whose parents from Lebanon, may have both been born in Canada, but they still learned some things.

“We went to places that I've never, ever been before,” Asha said.

Ruba said, “the post office, I've never been there.”

They also learned where The Chatham Daily News is now located at the corner of King and Fifth streets. They went to the former location on Fourth Street and discovered the building is gone and the site is part of large gravel parking lot.

 

We want to share good news stories with our community, so if you know of an interesting person or have an unique experience to tell us about, e-mail ellwood.shreve@sunmedia.ca or call 519-354-2000 ext. 310.

 

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