We’ve hit that time of year when mid-year work functions are occurring and ‘tis the season for a good mulled merlot. It’s also nearing the kick-off for Dry July, a month to give up alcohol for a good cause. So, as well as doing it, why should you be fundraising?
Other than encouraging you to bin the bubbles for a month, signing up for Dry July means much more than having a break from drinking. It not only has a positive effect on your health – even more beneficially, your fundraising helps others too. Dry July exists to raise funds for those living with cancer. Money raised from Dry July helps pay for services, facilities and resources to improve patient care, comfort and wellbeing.
This year, Dry July’s primary beneficiary is Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), a charity dedicated to supporting cancer patients who are impacted by the visible and emotional effects of their diagnosis and treatment. LGFB’s free classes are for anyone at any stage of their treatment, providing an appointment for them as a person, not a patient. Held throughout New Zealand, classes teach techniques to help combat the visible side effects of treatment and they also help them feel better, and more their true selves. It offers a positive environment to connect with others who are experiencing the same struggle and emotions .
Elaine, Waiora and Shona are three women who found strength and confidence after attending a LGFB class. They share their recollection of their cancer journey and how classes like those that Dry July will fund, helped them look good and feel better.
Elaine, an executive at a large medical company, has had seven rounds of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with both breast and lymph-node cancer.
She was prepared for the nausea, brittle nails and hair loss that came from chemo, but there were days when she was in so much agony she was unable to sip water. She would look in the mirror and not see the strong independent woman she was, instead looking back was a cancer patient.
For Elaine, the LGFB class was not yet another medical treatment. It was instead a day where she could draw her eyebrows back on, put on makeup and regain her confidence.
“I can smile again and look at myself in the mirror and say ‘you know, it’s ok, I can get through this’. I have some control back, I have a choice.”
Waiora was diagnosed with her third basal cell carcinoma on her lip, resulting in her third surgery – leaving a prominent scar. She was left with the constant worry the cancer would come back.
The LGFB class taught Waiora about makeup and showed her how to disguise her scar.
“It has made such a huge difference in my life. As someone who has had cancer, who thinks that cancer may return again, just looking and feeling the best that I can makes such a huge difference.”
Shona Gives Back
Shona was diagnosed with stage-two cervical cancer and endured five rounds of chemotherapy, 25 bouts of of external radiation and four internal radiation treatments.
She didn’t lose her hair but what was going on internally put huge emotional stress on her – she didn’t look sick so she felt like she was expected to cope.
After her traumatic treatment, she faced the possibility of having her bladder and bowel removed and ended up having a hysterectomy.
Because Shona didn’t look like the other attendees, she initially felt as though she wasn’t entitled to attend a LGFB class.
“You, at times, can feel like a bit of a number, not a person. Going to that class made me feel less invisible.”
Grateful for the class, Shona has signed up to do Dry July this year. “To not drink for a month if you knew you were helping someone with cancer, that’s no sacrifice”, she says “We can all do that.”
If you wish to take the challenge and support those living with cancer, you can still sign up for Dry July here - www.dryjuly.co.nz/users/sign_up