Urge to Splurge!

Others may see Pat Bistany's Louis Vuitton purse as just another purse, a fabulous designer purse, but just a purse. To Pat it stands for something bigger than that. It stands for her health, her will to change her life and a 36 year old habit she finally decided to give up.

A couple of months ago Pat quit smoking. Her reward: a beautiful Louis Vuitton purse. Pat's husband, Chris, has always wanted his wife to give up smoking. Pat has always wanted a Louis Vuitton purse.

Pat's desire to quit smoking, however, came from more than just her desire for a new purse. Recently Pat's father passed away from lung cancer. On top of that, her neighbor's husband was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. The devastating events that surrounded Pat strengthened her will to finally change her life and give up something that had been a part of her for so long.

Pat is originally from Valley Stream, Long Island and very proudly boasts that her family is part of the original Smith's from Smithtown. When Pat and her husband recently decided to move to Hilton Head she was not just leaving her home town but her family's home since the 1600's. Not only was Pat dealing with the stress of selling her house and moving but Pat chose this time to finally quit smoking. "She did it without the drugs!" said Chris. She quit completely "cold turkey". She simply put down the cigarettes and hasn't looked back. Pat admits it was hard and there are times when she misses it. There were even times when her two daughters would almost want her to smoke to get through the stress. "I'm not smoking them," she would firmly tell them.

When asked why she wanted the purse, Pat jokingly admits she should have asked for the new stove she wants, but says she has always wanted a Louis Vuitton purse. Her husband has offered her incentives for years. "Don't you want to stop smoking?" he would ask her. "I'll do anything you want." She tried to quit once before, but it did not last. This time she was determined, and after a week without one cigarette, Pat went to her husband and said "Honey, lets go get that purse!"

For Pat, smoking became a social experience and many smokers would probably share Pat's feelings. Pat would smoke outside and socialize with her friends and neighbors. Now she simply finds something else to do like drink a cup of coffee.

While Pat is proud of her accomplishment, she admits that she would never force her advice and opinion on others who smoke. "You can't tell anybody what to do. It has to come from inside you. I was ready. Everyone has to make their own choice."

One thing Pat won't be giving up anytime soon is her love for the color pink and her willingness to support a good cause. From her pots and pans, to her vacuum cleaner, to her guest bedroom, Pat's home is full of pink! And with every purchase of a new pink item Pat is giving to something else she strongly believes in, breast cancer research.

Pat's urge was more than just to splurge (or have her husband splurge) on a new purse. It was an urge to change her life and make her loved ones proud. Pat traded her cigarettes for more than just that Louis Vuitton purse. "My dad wanted me to quit. Before he died he was so proud." That is a feeling Pat will cherish forever.

Her purse may one day go out of style. But Pat's new, healthier life never will.

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