$5,000 Awarded to QuitCash Challenge™ Winner

Health and family motivated Grand Rapids woman to quit smoking

Jul 16, 2015, 13:40 ET from ClearWay Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Michelle Runge of Grand Rapids, Minn., was one of more than 3,400 Minnesotans who entered The QuitCash Challenge, a quit and win contest sponsored by QUITPLAN® Services and ClearWay MinnesotaSM. Runge, who quit smoking and remained tobacco-free through the contest month of May 2015, was randomly selected as the contest winner. Today, ClearWay Minnesota and QUITPLAN Services celebrated Michelle's accomplishment and presented her with the grand prize check of $5,000.

After smoking for 43 years, Runge, 59, was diagnosed with emphysema, which prompted her to quit. She contacted QUITPLAN Services for free help and received phone coaching support, plus a free four-week supply of nicotine lozenges to help her quit successfully. In addition, Michelle's husband, Rick, also quit smoking last year as both of them were taking strides to improve their health.

"I'm very excited about winning the contest, but I couldn't have done it without the help from QUITPLAN," said Runge. "I really feel like I've won twice. Obviously, it's nice to get the money for quitting, but I've already noticed benefits to my health. My dentist even commented on how much my teeth have improved recently. "

The 2015 QuitCash Challenge is the seventh quit and win contest sponsored by QUITPLAN Services since 2008. In that time, nearly 20,000 Minnesotans from around the state have participated in the QuitCash Challenge. In addition, the contest serves as an opportunity to inform Minnesotans about all the free help available to quit through QUITPLAN Services.

"We congratulate everyone who entered The QuitCash Challenge and made a change toward a healthier life," said Andrea Mowery, Vice President of Clearway Minnesota. "We are thrilled that the QuitCash Challenge helped motivate Michelle to quit and that she was able to get the support she needed from QUITPLAN Services. We want every Minnesotan to know that they can get the same free support through QUITPLAN Services."

This year's QuitCash Challenge encouraged participants to practice quitting by offering "mini-quits" leading up to the big month-long challenge. The mini-quits included challenges to abstain from tobacco use for short periods of time, such as during a daily commute or out at the bar with friends. The mini-quits were intended to help tobacco users practice quitting and make more quit attempts.

Launched by ClearWay Minnesota in 2001, QUITPLAN Services offers all Minnesotans year-round, free access to phone coaching, text messaging and email support, quit guides and free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges. Minnesotans can find out about all the free help to quit tobacco through QUITPLAN Services by visiting quitplan.com or calling 1-888-354-PLAN (7526).

About ClearWay MinnesotaSM
ClearWay Minnesota is an independent nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit clearwaymn.org.

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SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota