The Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Program hit the road in November educating fifth through ninth graders about the dangers of commercial tobacco use. The presentation included the Sequoyah SWAT Team, Robert Lewis, Brian Jackson and Ronnie Trentham.
The SWAT Team spoke about the chemicals in tobacco and included some exercises for some volunteers to participate in. These exercises demonstrated how tobacco use can effect their lungs and health.
Robert Lewis tied in his traditional Cherokee stories and Brian Jackson tied in his World Record accomplishments. They shared the message that when you are given talents they can easliy be taken away by alcohol, drugs and tobacco use.
Finally, Ronnie Trentham who is a six time cancer survivor and former smokeless tobacco user shared his pictures of his life before cancer and after cancer. The pictures showed the progress from beginning to end. Ronnie was left scarred, his inability to taste, produce saliva, and the inability to do what he loved, bowhunt.
The students from the schools were very involved in the presentation but what really got their attention was a picture called "The Hairy Tongue." This image, located below, depicts cancer cells growing on the human tongue. When this picture was shown many of the students could not believe that this could possibly be caused from tobacco use. There was one student that swore she would not smoke again after looking at this picture which is what the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is striving for, "Prevention."