Dry July: Howlong's Hannah Lewry shuns alcohol to help cancer cause

REMOVING TEMPTATION: Howlong's Hannah Lewry will say no to alcohol for the next month. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
REMOVING TEMPTATION: Howlong's Hannah Lewry will say no to alcohol for the next month. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

A sober cause, a pledge friends look forward to witnessing and a motivation close to her heart.

Hannah Lewry, of Howlong, near Albury, NSW, will not drink alcohol for 31 days from Wednesday, July 1, as part of Dry July, an annual campaign that raises money for people affected by cancer.

"I thought I better participate in it because Mum's just got cancer this year," she said. "It was right in the middle of coronavirus as well. When she was in hospital, she couldn't have any visitors or anything, only one person for an hour a day."

With her mother, Catherine, now going through chemotherapy, Miss Lewry, 18, felt Dry July offered a way for people to help.

And her idea met with enthusiasm.

"Everyone knows I like to go out and have a drink," Miss Lewry said with a laugh.

"It's just like a funny thing, really.

"It's like a challenge they'd be wanting to watch me do."

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FAMILY REASONS: Hannah Lewry (right), of Howlong, will not drink alcohol throughout July to show support for all cancer patients, especially her mother Catherine, who is presently undergoing treatment. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

FAMILY REASONS: Hannah Lewry (right), of Howlong, will not drink alcohol throughout July to show support for all cancer patients, especially her mother Catherine, who is presently undergoing treatment. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

But supporters have also put their money where their mock is.

"In two hours I made $660, so I passed my $500 goal really quickly, I was so happy with that," she said.

Before the alcohol-free month even begins, her total is more than $1200 and donations can still be made at dryjuly.com.

Since the first Dry July in 2008, the campaign has raised more than $49 million for cancer organisations including the Cancer Council, Leukaemia Foundation, Look Good Feel Better, McGrath Foundation, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Redkite.

Money has gone to services such as a lift to an appointment, guidance from a specialist nurse, connection to an informative voice, access to therapy programs or a bed close to treatment.

In addition, an alcohol-free month might see participants sleeping better, having more energy and not getting hangovers.

This year Dry July Foundation is offering new dry(ish) options of 21 days, 14 days or a self-nominated alcohol break instead of the full month.

Chief executive and co-founder Brett Macdonald said the foundation hoped this would encourage as many people as possible to become involved.

"We get it, Aussies have had a really challenging first half of 2020," he said. "But what remains unchanged is that people affected by cancer still need our support.

"In fact, they need our support more than ever."

Miss Lewry, a former Albury High School student who now works at Rivalea Australia, Corowa, said she didn't consider reducing her period of abstinence.

"No, I like a challenge, so I just was go straight, all in, 31 days," she said.

"I think it will go all right, I'll just drink Coke instead."

This story After mum's diagnosis Hannah shuns alcohol to support cancer cause first appeared on The Border Mail.