David Bresnick is an advocate for the health of young people in New York City. He dedicated his time to spreading the message, "Don't Smoke." Besides helping young people avoid smoking, he also helps those who have, like himself, suffered the ravages of cancer.
After having successfully undergone a laryngectomy in 1983, David was spurred on to find a way to help others fight cancer. His involvement with the New York City office of the American Cancer Society first began in 1989 when he met the Society's Assistant Director of Tobacco Control and Nutrition at a school where they were both presenting on the effects of tobacco. Ten years later, David is described as one of the most active volunteers in the Society's education and outreach programs. His visits to schools incorporate facts and figures with personal testimony of cancer survivorship.
As a Society volunteer, David's participation covers a spectrum of opportunities other than the educational support. It ranges from administrative assistance, to on-site functions at fund-raisers and health fairs, to orienting potential volunteers. However, his main focus is on students, especially elementary age children. Even in his seventies, he travels throughout New York City's five boroughs and beyond to tell school children the real facts about tobacco. Teachers have reported that when David is speaking, even in the rowdiest of schools, you can hear a pin drop and students come up to him to hand over their cigarettes.
David's mission does not stop within the classroom walls, he is often found on the subway talking to young people about smoking. His life goal is to reach as many young people as he can before he is no longer able to get around. He refuses to take taxi cabs to speaking engagements, citing expense to the organization and, occasionally, a school will give him a check to pay him for his efforts, of which he always donates back to the American Cancer Society so that it can go back into the fight.
He is often heard to say, "Adults don't start smoking, adults are just teenagers smoking who couldn't kick the habit."