So now I was introduced to working with people who were quitting smoking. This is where I really got motivated and excited by the work. For the first time I started to really get to know the people I was lecturing to and I really liked these people. I knew right off that I was helping them in an important area of their lives. The work affected me in a way that I never felt before from my previous lectures.
In my other school based programs and lectures at conferences I would talk to hundreds or sometimes thousands of people at one time, leave, and never see them again. I never knew for sure that what I was sayingwas really influencing the individuals in the audiences or really making a difference. The clinic work was different. I called the people from my first group daily and they called and kept in touch with me. I kept contact with these people for many years. I maintained contact with one of these original seven people for 28 years until the time of his death in September of 2004. Even after running thousands of people through clinics since 1976, the satisfaction I get from this work still feels the same. It’s so hard to describe the feeling of purpose that it has given me. I did this work as a non-paid volunteer from 1971 through 1977, almost full time the last couple of years of that period.
Link to 1999 American Cancer Society publication covering Joel Spitzer’s 28 years of service
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