Dry July

For over 10 years, Australians have been going alcohol-free for the month of July as a way to raise funds and awareness for people affected by cancer. Since it began in 2008, more than 160,000 have abstained from alcohol in July, and collectively raised upwards of $37 million for various cancer organisations.

Why Go Dry in July?

By going dry for July, you can help raise awareness for those affected by cancer. That includes those who are diagnosed, as well as all their friends and family. Cancer is Australia’s leading cause of death, with 1 in 2 men and women having a diagnosis by the time they turn 85. The Cancer Council estimates approximately 50,000 cancer-related deaths for 2019.

While these figures are shocking, the survival rate for cancers can be as high as 90%, according to the Cancer Council. Many awareness organisations offer personal stories from survivors, such as the National Breast Cancer Network Australia. Continuing to raise both awareness and funds offers the opportunity to further research and to assist those coping with diagnoses.

Abstaining from alcohol can also provide many personal health benefits. Medical News Today conducted a study into the effects of participants who went without alcohol for one month and found that the participants felt a higher awareness of their relationship with alcohol, and an increased ability to control their future drinking. They also experienced higher energy levels, weight loss and a better quality of sleep. The Sleep Foundation confirms that affect that alcohol has on the quantity and quality of a person’s sleep.

Who Will You Be Supporting?

The organisations involved in Dry July include:

Each state also has local organisations involved. Some of Victoria’s local participants are:

  • Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre – a centre focused on developing innovative cancer therapies and international research programs, with the best of patient-centred care and medical treatment.
  • Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre – a world-class cancer centre providing care, treatment and research for the people of the Grampians Region of Victoria.
  • The Alfred Hospital – Alfred Health provides the most comprehensive range of healthcare services in Victoria through their 3 hospital campuses, large network of community programs and 14 statewide services.

For full information on the organisations involved in Dry July, visit the beneficiaries section of their website.

How Can You Help?

If you think Dry July sounds like the challenge for you, get started right away. Sign up on the Dry July web page as an individual or a team. Once you have committed yourself, begin spreading the word. Chase up friends, family and colleagues who you think would be up for it, and encourage them to join you on the journey.

To begin fundraising, Dry July offers assistance to help you reach out across various platforms. They provide social media images, pre-written emails, posters and more to help you seek support. For additional resources and fundraising tips, head to the fundraising section of the website.

If you are having reservations about being unable to abstain from drinking for the whole month of June, there is a way to make Dry July work for you. Dry July offers participants to purchase ‘Golden Tickets’ as a way to buy a night or day of drinking. For example, if you have a special occasion that falls directly in the middle of July, but still want to participate in Dry July, you can buy yourself one of these Golden Tickets, and add to your fundraising pool for a night free of obligations.

Need Some Further Motivation?

To get you started, here are some  scrumptious non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy while you commence your month without alcohol:

Caramel Apple Pie Mocktail

Sparkling Berry and Pomegranate Mocktail

Carrot Cake Smoothie

Classic Banana Smoothie

Healthy Breakfast Juice

If you or someone you know is dealing with issues from alcohol addiction, visit Reach Out for information and support.

National Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that June is Australia’s Bowel Cancer Awareness month? Wednesday 19th June is known as Red Apple Day, in reference to Bowel Cancer Australia’s red apple logo. Australians are encouraged to use this day to support Bowel Cancer Australia’s important work by purchasing and displaying Bowel Cancer Awareness ribbons, and by partaking in apple-themed fundraising activities.

The Bowel Cancer Awareness Month website has great suggestions and guidelines for fundraising activities. Click here for more information.

Who Is Affected?

1 in 13 Australians will have a bowel cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, making it Australia’s second deadliest cancer.

While there are incidences of bowel cancer occurring in younger Australians, the highest risk category is men and women aged over 50. Hereditary factors, such as your parents or grandparents being effected by bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, can also increase your risk.

It has been suggested that smoking, high alcohol intake and high red meat consumption are also factors that can increase your risk of bowel cancer.

What Can You Do?

Bowel Cancer Australia predicts that 15,604 diagnoses of the disease will be made in Australia this year, but the good news is that bowel cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer if detected early.

All Australians ages 50-74 are advised to partake in a non-invasive, at-home screening process, known as a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). If you are eligible for the FOBT, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program can send you a free test kit to collect the sample in your home, and sent to a pathologist for analysis.

If you are at greater risk for bowel cancer, it is recommended that you discuss the best screening option for yourself with your doctor.

Maintaining a healthy diet, quitting smoking and lowering alcohol intake are all steps you can take to help keep your health at its peak. When you are above the age of 40, it is recommended to get annual medical checks, as a tool to stay on top of your health. If you require assistance with these lifestyle changes, your regular GP is a great point of contact to start the change. Book now to make an appointment.