Follow Loreneʼs inspirational journey from tragedy to triumph
Indiana launched its public awareness quit campaign featuring Lorene Sandifur from Kokomo, Indiana. Lorene is telling her story of losing Gary (her husband) to lung cancer that had spread to his brain. Gary
Sandifur, died at the age of 51 from smoking-related illnesses. Gary, who had smoked all of his life, had promised Lorene and his family that he would quit smoking on his 50th birthday. Before turning 50, however,
he began experiencing headaches and dizziness. He visited a doctor for testing, and the day before his 50th birthday, the results showed cancerous tumors in his brain. Stage Four lung cancer had spread from his lungs to his brain.
Lorene got involved with Indianaʼs public awareness campaign for one reason—to save lives. “I donʼt want your wife or husband to feel the pain that I am experiencing. I hope to encourage people to never start smoking and those who are addicted, I encourage them to quit today,” Sandifur saID. Loreneʼs story is intended to help educate Hoosiers about the seriousness of the dangers of tobacco use.
“I donʼt want your wife or husband to feel the pain that I am experiencing. I hope to encourage people to never start smoking and those who are addicted, I encourage them to quit today,”
After learning he was dying of cancer, Gary started speaking to children and teenagers about the dangers of smoking. He wanted to get the message out to as many people as possible that smoking was not worth the risk involved. After living twice as long as the doctors predicted and talking to as many kids as he could, Gary lost his battle with cancer. Gary didnʼt get to fi nish the work he started. Lorene has decided to continue the work that Gary had begun.
Now, five years after his death, Lorene is teaching at Ben Davis University High School. She enjoys doing speaking engagements, encouraging smokers to quit and detering youth from starting. Sandifur said, “I never envisioned what an impact telling his story would make. People always tell me how my story moved them to quit. I think it may be like that for most smokers, they want to quit but are scared about their future, about the unknowns. I ask them; what are you waiting for?”
Today, after running in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November, Lorene is qualifi ed for the Boston Marathon in April. What a remarkable accomplishment for her and her family. You can follow Lorene Sandifurʼs story on Facebook at and support her journey to Boston by making the decision to quit smoking or help a loved one to quit.