It encourages people to abstain from alcohol for the month of July, and to raise funds for people affected by cancer.
Since its inception in 2008, Dry July has raised over $73 million for more than 80 cancer support organisations across Australia and New Zealand.
Today, we are going to commemorate Dry July by taking a closer look at its remarkable history, and its impact on Australia’s wellbeing.
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The first Dry July took place in 2008, when three friends (Brett, Kenny, and Phil) pledged to give up alcohol for the month of July.
At the same time, they invited their friends and family to sponsor their efforts, in the hopes of raising $3,000 for their local hospital.
Their challenge was subsequently picked up and supported by breakfast radio host Adam Spencer, which led to over 1,000 people signing up and raising a total of $250,000.
To this day, Adam Spencer remains the campaign’s national Patron.
Dry July is intended to help participants reassess the role of alcohol in their life, and its impact on their health, productivity, and relationships.
According to Professor Steve Allsop of the National Drug Research Institute, many people feel overt or subtle pressure to drink, and alcohol can become an automatic or even dependent feature of their life.
In the short term, excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact one’s sleep quality, and their ability to regulate their mood and concentration.
Dry July is similarly intended to raise funds for tangible services that lessen the burden on cancer patients and their support networks, such as accommodation close to appointments, specialist cancer nurses, and wellness programs.
As we touched on earlier, excessive alcohol consumption can have numerous, immediate effects on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.
In the long term, meanwhile, alcohol dependence can increase a person’s risk of several chronic health conditions, including liver damage, heart disease, and some cancers.
Over the course of Dry July, a participant can expect an increase in their quality of sleep and work performance, and a decrease in their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Curtailing alcohol dependence is an important issue in Australia, as nearly 2 million Australians drink more than 6 standard drinks per day, even though it is generally recommended that men and women drink no more than 2 standard drinks per day.
To participate in Dry July, simply head to the Dry July Foundation website and click the “Sign Up” button.
As a participant, you can select to raise funds for one of Dry July’s many beneficiaries, including Bowel Cancer Australia, the Cancer Council, and Mummy’s Wish (among others).
Conversely, you can select to raise funds directly for Dry July Foundation, which runs an annual Grant Program to fund projects that improve the comfort, care, and wellbeing of people affected by cancer.
Since 2008, Dry July Foundation has funded over 1,200 projects across Australia, including the Mater Cancer Care Centre’s “Return to Wellness” program, which connects breast cancer patients with guided advice on exercise, diet, and lifestyle choices.