James up for beer break

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian

James Van Niftrik from Geraldton is one of an estimated 80,000 Australians going alcohol-free this month as part of the Dry July cancer fundraiser.

“I am taking part in Dry July as it’s something that has become quite close to me recently,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I am sure everyone out there can at least think of one person affected by cancer and I would like to try to help make a small difference by giving up beer for a month.”

Dry July is celebrating its 10th year and over the past decade has raised $26 million in donations, funded 69 cancer services and amassed 120,000 participants.

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Dry July Foundation chief executive and co-founder Brett MacDonald hopes he can raise between $50,000 and $100,000 for Geraldton Cancer Centre.

Mr MacDonald said support from Geraldton Hospital had been amazing.

“It’s great working with Geraldton Hospital. We know the nurses and doctors on the ground are very focused on providing the best possible service to their patients, making them feel comfortable and well looked after,” he said.

Dry July Foundation is aligned with 45 cancer services this year and there are aims to fund more palliative care.

“We’re not funding research, we’re funding tangible change,” Mr MacDonald said.

“I’ve noticed a big shift in the landscape over the years with a lot of wellbeing programs popping up in the cancer patient’s journey.

“We fund things like palliative care, artwork, massages, art and music therapies and dietician support.”

Mr MacDonald said the idea for the fundraiser was born out of a game with his friends.

“Myself and a couple of friends just decided to give up drinking as a bit of a challenge to see who would crack first,” he said.

“We happened to do this on July 1 and at the same time I had a really close family member diagnosed with cancer.

“So, I thought about it and realised I had something.”

This July an estimated 11,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer.

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