November 09, 2011

‘Go Cold Turkey Bowl’ marks annual smokeout

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- In recognition of the American Cancer Society’s 36th Annual Great American Smokeout, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Student Health Services Wellness Center and student groups are joining with numerous area agencies to host a “Go Cold Turkey Bowl.”

The turkey bowl is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16, outside the north end of the Student Center.  And yes, it REALLY is a “turkey bowl.”  Teams will bowl with frozen turkeys in support of the commitment the American Cancer Society is asking smokers to make for the following day -- a commitment to go smoke-free for one day.

The entry fee to participate in the Turkey Bowl is one non-perishable food item or $1 that organizers will use to purchase a food item.  All food items will go to local food pantries and shelters as well as the to the Newman Center, assuring a better Thanksgiving meal for many.

As smokers sign pledges to quit smoking for a day, they may also elect to “adopt a turkey” for a $5 contribution, about what they would pay for a pack of cigarettes.  The “adopted” turkeys will also go to local food pantries and shelters. 

“This is a win-win opportunity.  There are immediate physical, environmental and economic benefits to just one day of not smoking.  Money not spent on a one-day’s supply of cigarettes will help provide an incentive to not smoke for one day as well as serving the community by helping the much-needed community food supply.  What a great time of year to redirect our resources to give to others while giving to ourselves a smoke-free day,” said Michelle McLernon, coordinator of outreach programs at the Wellness Center.

Event organizers encourage smokers to bring a friend to support them and sign the pledge, too.  Those who make the commitment to a smoke-free day can come to the Wellness Center on the following day, Nov. 17, and receive a Certificate of Achievement.  Those who do so also get entry into a drawing for a grand prize honoring their smoking cessation efforts.

“To see people commit to stop smoking for a day is a great accomplishment.  It would be even better to see them make a long-term commitment to staying smoke-free.  My grandmother suffered from bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer and spoke through a trach -- all complications resulting from 60 years of smoking.  That’s why this event is especially important to me,” said Jerrica Myers, a community health education major from Pope County.

Sponsors include Student Health Services, the Student Center, American Cancer Society, Southern Illinois Healthcare, Colleges Against Cancer, Nutrition Assistance Program, Eta Sigma Gamma Alpha Alpha Chapter with assistance from the Jackson County Health Department, Harbison’s Country Market, SIU Carbondale theater department and Pepsi MidAmerica.

For more information about the Go Cold Turkey Bowl, contact the Wellness Center at 618/536-5531 or by emailing