Sally Steward-Townsend knows first-hand how smoking can affect not just the smoker but that person’s loved ones. Her sister—a smoker and mother of two sons—was diagnosed with lung cancer, underwent chemotherapy, and passed away 10 years ago. The younger of the two boys lived with Steward-Townsend for some time, and now works in the field of IT at a well-renowned company. As a UW-CTRI health counselor working on the QUITS, Disparities and CLuES studies, Steward-Townsend will help patients quit smoking for themselves and their loved ones. “The most important thing I have learned about Smoking Cessation is people are willing and very appreciative to quit and we can make a difference in improving the lives of people in our community and the world,” she said.
Over the years, her experience working as an outreach specialist for the UW SHOW Project and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute has taught her a lot. For example, Steward-Townsend learned the importance of being patient and flexible, to always follow protocol, and to persevere. “One of the things I always found was that, for every person who was the rudest possible person in a given day, there was always someone who was the nicest person you could meet. They’d let you know that you are as important to them as they were to me.”