No Snuff Tobacco Education
My name is Rick Bender, and some call me the man without a face. Let me tell you a little about myself. I was born in San Diego, California in April of 1962. I now live in Kentucky. At the age of 12 I started using Spit Tobacco, commonly known as Chewing Tobacco. there were several things that influenced me in its use, probably the biggest was the game of baseball.
At the age of 26 (March of 1989) I was diagnosed with cancer because of my use of Spit Tobacco. In April of 1989 I underwent my first of 4 major surgeries to remove the cancer. I lost 1/3 of my tongue, 1/2 of my jaw, 25% use of my right arm, as well as almost my life. I am still fighting the affect of my tobacco use today.
Since my last operation in June of 1990, I have devoted my life to educating others about this Tobacco product that is widely thought of as a safe alternative to smoking. I have worked with the Office of the Surgeon general of the United States, Major League Baseball and many other organizations across this great country of ours. My efforts have included testifying at a Congressional Sub-Committee hearing on the subject as well as my own prevention/cessation lectures to people of all ages (mainly school age young people) across America.
This has become my life's work. You see I shouldn't be here. My doctor after seeing how big the cancer was did not expect me to see my 30th birthday. But I am still here, and have a second chance at life. The way I look at it is, we are all here for a reason, and maybe mine is to educate people about the dangers of Tobacco. If I can get just one individual each day to quit using, or never start using Tobacco, maybe it will save their life and make the second chance I have received worthwhile.
My talks, which include some slides, last about 45 minutes, with time devoted to questions and answers. I encourage students to stop and talk to me, one on one, as my appearance has a big impact on people. I really feel my presentations have a big influence on the decisions people make about using Tobacco. I want to give them something else to chew on.