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Prior to having my eyes opened as to the kind of brotherhood that will develop among quitters, some of the aspects of quitting dip that I could easily understand were the consequences of NOT quitting dip. I immediately gravitated towards a story which completely crystallized those consequences, the story of a man taken too soon as a result of his nicotine addiction.

 

The story of the Kern Family,  as chronicled by Tom Kern's wife Jenny and daughter Mackenzie, is both heartbreaking and inspiring. My short and completely inadequate summary of the story is that of a devoted family man who wouldn't recognize the dangers of his addiction, and who just never got around to quitting dip, until it was too late. His fight against cancer, his emotional passing, and the real aftermath of his death, (an aftermath that none of us ever consider when selfishly using chewing tobacco), shook me to the core the first time I read it. I urge anyone thinking about quitting dip to read the story in it's entirety. Start at the bottom and work your way back up.If you think you don't have the time, the most recent entry in the blog by Mackenzie encapsulates the biggest reason I am now quit.

 

 

Friday, January 10, 2014 2:12 PM CST

Well, first off I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Kenra and I enjoyed hanging out with some friends, watching the NY ball drop (I convinced her it was midnight so we could go to bed). Here’s to all the New Year’s Resolutions that I am going to TRY to keep! :)

I have been helping a friend prepare for her wedding. Talking about everything: the shower, the bachelorette party, decorations, food, the venue….and the father/daughter dance. I have finally realized the reason for not wanting to get married. Weddings are all about father’s giving their daughter’s to the man that is suppose to take care of her for the rest of their lives. I wouldn't get that. I wouldn't have my dad there to give me away, to meet the man that is suppose to take care of me for the rest of my life. I couldn't imagine going through that day without him. People say “he will be there in spirit”, yea I get that, but if you haven’t lost a parent, you wouldn't understand. I know that any of my uncles or even my brother would be more than happy to do it, but it still is not my dad.

When I was in high school my dad came and talked to one of my friends’ teen issues class about tobacco (he was going through radiation at the time). He said until that point he never understood that he was not only hurting himself, but he was hurting everyone he had ever met, everyone that cared and loved for him. I am sure he never imagined himself dying, never imagined he would be missing out on so much of our lives. Which I am sure is true to anyone who has every used. No matter the situation (tobacco use, driving drunk, speeding) everyone thinks, “Oh, it won’t happen to me”. WRONG!!! Like my mom has said to so many people, “It doesn't matter what the chances are if it is you that it happens to.

9 1/2 years ago I was that 16 year old, throwing herself on her dad’s feet saying “Don’t go, Dad!” as he took his last breath, realizing everything was going to change from that moment on.

PLEASE, don’t let this be your story!

I can't thank everyone enough for all of your continued wonderful words! Like I have said before, and will continue to say...it really means that world to my family and me.

Kenz

 

Several months ago I took a few minutes to reach out and let the family know what it meant to me, and I heard back from Jenny. She related that although talking about Tom still makes her cry 10 years later, it warms her heart whenever she hears from someone that Tom has inspired, and that she is amazed by how many people Tom's life and her words have helped quit chew. She said that she would pass along the message to her kids and that they also appreciate knowing that others are still being helped by Tom. I would be remiss if I didn't make sure the link was on our site.

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