For those who enjoy a drink on occasion, going without any alcohol for an entire month may seem like a daunting prospect. But what if doing so would benefit those affected by cancer and simultaneously lead to a healthier lifestyle?
That is exactly what the Dry February fundraising cause aims to accomplish. Headed by Clear Heads International Limited fundraising, Dry February gives people a chance to raise money for cancer research and for those closest to them who have been affected by cancer. It also challenges people to go alcohol-free for the month of February, which according to dryfeb.ca will result in several benefits including: increased energy levels, better sleep, saving money and weight loss.
Regina resident Dianne Carr is doing her part to raise money for the cause. A close family friend of Carr’s, and an especially close friend of Carr’s daughter Alex, has recently been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer.
The friend has undergone a full hysterectomy and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment at just 26.
Carr says raising funds for her friend’s treatment was “my main motivation, but also for all of our loved ones who are suffering or have left us from this horrible disease.” For Carr this also involves a recent personal loss.
“We lost a very good friend this past summer,” she said. “We called him our ninth brother; he was just about to turn 60.” “Also I have had numerous aunts and uncles who have passed from cancer as well.”
The secondary motivation for Carr was to improve her health for herself and for her family, and eliminating alcohol was a great way to do so. There have been no issues to date with removing alcohol from the picture.
“I drink grapefruit Perrier water in a wine glass and pretend it is a white wine spritzer,” she said.
Another local resident, Joran Temple, is not personally taking part in Dry February but he has been personally touched by cancer. Temple recently lost his great uncle to the disease. After he noticed a fluid build up, Temple’s great uncle went to get it checked out and within weeks succumbed to cancer. The two were extremely close.
“I used to go to his house every Saturday,” said Temple.
To Temple, fighting cancer and going ‘dry’ are both good causes.
“If someone is motivated to fight cancer and learns that there is one event that they didn’t know they could get through without alcohol, I think it is a major personal gain,” he said.
Dry February also looks to raise awareness about the link between cancer and alcohol. Like tobacco, alcohol is one of the only substances consistently linked to cancer and the type of alcohol does not matter. Drinking increases the risk of head and neck cancers, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The highest risks for the disease occur in the larynx, esophageal and oral cavity because these tissues come into contact with the alcohol when a person drinks it.
Although cancer is a deadly disease and therefore can cast a dark cloud over things, the Dry February fundraiser has added a fun incentive to raising the most money possible. The funding for cancer research and those affected, plus encouraging healthy lifestyles are the main objectives, but a chance to win prizes doesn’t hurt.
For each milestone reached, the person fundraising gets their name entered to win a prize, which include: a mini instant camera, wireless headphones, a gaming console and a tablet.
To date there are a total of 10,909 people taking part and over $385,000 has been raised nationally.
The Dry February fundraiser runs until the end of February and details can be found on dryfeb.ca.