Dry July is a great event with a double benefit.
Dry July raises funds to improve the comfort and wellbeing of Australians diagnosed with cancer. Not only that, it delivers health benefits to every person who takes the pledge and gives up alcohol for the month, or part of it.
A diagnosis of cancer is life changing for the patient and their friends and family. Since 2008, Dry July has raised $49 million, which has supported projects by more than 80 cancer organisations across Australia.
These projects provide a range of services such as transport to an essential appointment, guidance from a specialist nurse, information resources, therapy programs, or a free bed close to treatment.
All of the organisations funded by Dry July are doing outstanding work, complementing the work of health and hospital services. Amongst the many organisations partnering with the Dry July Foundation are the Cancer Council, the Leukaemia Foundation, the McGrath Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, to name just a few.
In 2018-19, the Australian Government spent an estimated $3.45 billion on cancer treatment.
This year, more than 145,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer. Although our survival rates are high by world standards, 48,000 people will die from cancer.
At the same time, Dry July has inspired more than 200,000 Australians to give up alcohol for a month or even two weeks, which is a healthy idea for all regular drinkers.
Because of the extra stresses experienced by many people and service providers due to COVID-19, the Government has provided an additional $6 million to online and phone support services for people experiencing drug and alcohol problems at this time.
The Australian Government is committed to preventing and reducing the harms associated with alcohol, but this is an issue for the whole community. Dry July may provide the inspiration that someone needs, to cut down or quit drinking alcohol.