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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:
A life worth remembering
In September 2015, a very important and influential young man passed away due to the deadly effects of tobacco use.
Gruen Von Behrens was only 13 when he tried his first dip of chewing tobacco. Little did he know that after only one use, he would become highly addicted to this deadly substance and his life would never again be the same.
By the age of 16, he noticed a small white spot on his tongue that started to grow. Eventually his tongue started wasting away, his speech was becoming slurred and he couldn’t keep food in his mouth. Deep down, Gruen knew that he had mouth cancer but he tried to hide it from his family. After a visit to his dentist, he was no longer able to hide the deadly disease from his mother.
At the age of 17, Gruen had his first of 40 operations. However he did something that was extremely brave.  He decided to become a national spokesperson for Oral Health America’s National Spit Tobacco Education Program and spent the remainder of his life speaking to students and anyone else who would listen to him about the dangers of spit tobacco.
It is with great honor that the Pocahontas County Tobacco Prevention Coalition remembers this amazing man and his dedication to the education and encouragement to others about the importance of living a tobacco free life.
If you use tobacco and would like to quit call the WV Tobacco Quitline for help at 1-800-Quit-Now.
Jenny Friel
Prevention Coalition Member

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