ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A group of Albany Boys & Girls Club members got a reality check Monday evening as they learned about the dangers of tobacco from someone who now has a voice box.
Janice Hayes has battled throat cancer for several years.
"I think it's seeing it for real, this can really happen instead of just reading about it, seeing it on a commercial, I think it affects them you know," explained Hayes.
The Department of Health shared Hayes' story with students on National Kick Butts Day.
"I was trying to make something positive, out of something horrible that's happened to me," said Hayes, during the annual anti-tobacco rally.
"It was really hard for the whole family," remarked Hayes, and something that Maxwell knows all to well.
"She was like a teenager she used to smoke, and all day and night I'd be thinking why, why do you that," said Boys & Girls Club member Maxwell, referring to his mom who died of lung cancer.
She also started smoking at a young age like Hayes.
"I would go to the hospital like two or five, 10 times," recalled Maxwell, to check on his mom, a task that was beyond stressful on him.
And at one point, Maxwell's patience ran out.
"I really wanted to just commit suicide after what I saw through and through," said Maxwell, but something in his spirit told him not to.
Hayes knew first-hand how kids can worry about parents who smoke.
"A lot of times afterward kids will come up and they would be a lot of times worried about the parents," said Hayes.
Some even came up to let her know the message stuck with them, and end even hit home for others like Maxwell.
"It will kill you, smoking will kill you," remarked Maxwell.
The Department of Health also stopped at Cairo High School Monday morning.
The Grady County School district recently passed as a 100 percent tobacco-free school zone.