Dana’s Story

Dana, 38, was a young teenager when she started smoking cigarettes occasionally with friends. Most of Dana’s family and friends smoked, so she thought it was a normal thing to do. By the time she was 16, Dana was smoking daily and sharing cigarettes with her mother, Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) participant Terrie.

In 2001, Terrie was diagnosed with smoking-related oral and throat cancers. She had surgery to remove her larynx (voice box), leaving her to speak through an artificial voice device. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments scarred Terrie’s face and neck. Dana supported her mother through the difficult journey while fighting her own battle with nicotine addiction.

Terrie’s cancer returned several times and eventually spread to her brain. In 2009, Dana moved closer to home to help care for her mom. “It’s been very difficult for the family because you go through everything they go through,” Dana explained in a Tips video. “Maybe not in the same way, but you’re still there.”

After Terrie died in 2013, Dana decided to quit smoking cigarettes. With the help of prescription quitting medication, she quit smoking for good. “Mom always told me, never stop trying to quit,” Dana said. “I think she would be as proud of me as I was of her.”

Dana’s Videos


Dana started smoking cigarettes as a young teenager, just like her mother, Tips From Former Smokers participant Terrie. As Terrie’s health suffered from smoking-related cancer, Dana helped care for her while fighting her own battle with nicotine addiction.

Dana: Impact on Family
Terrie, a Tips From Former Smokers® campaign participant, bravely showed the world how years of smoking cigarettes damaged her health. In this video, Terrie’s daughter Dana shares how difficult the journey was for Terrie’s family.

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Dana’s Biography


Dana, 38, started smoking cigarettes when she was a young teenager, just like her mother, Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) participant Terrie. In the small North Carolina town where Dana grew up, almost all of her family and friends smoked.

“For me, it was a normal thing to do,” Dana said. “No one seemed to care about how smoking could affect their health, so I didn’t think about it, either.”

In 2001, Terrie was diagnosed with oral and throat cancer brought on by years of tobacco use. She had surgery to remove her larynx (voice box). Dana, then 20 years old, remembered the shock of seeing her mother in the hospital room right after the operation.

Dana

“I dropped to my knees and started bawling because I had no idea the extent of the problem until I saw that incision,” Dana said. “She was cut from ear to ear.”

Terrie had to learn how to communicate without her voice box. She experimented with writing on a dry erase board, using sign language, learning esophageal speech, and using an artificial voice box device. Dana supported her mother through the difficult journey while fighting her own battle with nicotine addiction.

Terrie’s cancer returned several times and eventually spread to her brain. Multiple surgeries scarred her face and neck, and chemotherapy treatments left her weak. In 2009, Dana moved closer to home to help care for her mom.

“It’s been very difficult for the family because you go through everything they go through,” Dana explained. “Maybe not in the same way, but you’re still there.”

Even as Terrie chronicled smoking’s effect on her declining health through her participation in CDC’s Tips campaign, Dana was still smoking. The morning after her mother died in September 2013, Dana walked out of the hospital and lit up a cigarette.

Finally, Dana decided to take control and quit smoking. With the help of prescription quitting medication, she stopped smoking cigarettes for good.
“Mom always told me, never stop trying to quit,” Dana said. “I wish I could tell her I’m smokefree now, but she’s gone. What I can do is help spread her message to encourage more people to quit smoking.”

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