After his mum Jan was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her spine in June last year, Ben Charles committed himself to joining up for Dry July, a fundraiser that encourages people to go alcohol-free in July to improve the comfort and wellbeing of people affected by cancer.
“I had just found out my mother had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in her spine, I was kind of in a daze…not knowing what the future may hold,” says Ben. “Up late one night, I saw the Dry July TV commercial…it really grabbed me and I signed up straight away.”
Ben says Jan’s cancer diagnosis put a lot of things into perspective for him and trivial things, like alcohol, became insignificant.
“I realised by doing Dry July I had the ability to help people like Mum through the efforts of missing a few beers. Such a small price to pay when I think of my children missing out on sharing moments with their nanna. If the extended care and comfort helps extend the quality of life of a loved one then missing out on a few beers is a tiny price to pay.”
Ben raised over $1,000 which is helping ensure the survival of wellness and supportive care at the ONJ Cancer Centre. These programs, like oncology massage, gentle yoga, art and creativity groups and specialist exercise programs, help patients manage the stress and anxiety that comes with cancer diagnosis and treatment, and rely on community support for their survival.
After undergoing extensive surgery to her spine, Jan, a primary school teacher, has gone back to work part-time and is currently working 20 hours per week.
“She refuses to let the news bring her enthusiasm for life down,” says Ben. “But it is comforting to know that wonderful places like the ONJ Centre exist and are available for us when we need them.”
“The quality of life and the time we spend with loved ones is what we are trying to extend. The ONJ Centre helps that process to be easier regardless of condition or prognosis.”
Surprisingly, Ben also found that spreading the word about his Dry July fundraising page resulted in many messages of hope and support from his extended network.
“By far the most rewarding part was the extended well-wishes and donations, and that this challenging news in our lives had gone to some good.”
Ben can’t wait to take on Dry July again this year.
“It’s another opportunity to do some good, update everybody with Mum’s progress, light off the beers and raise some money!”
The ONJ Centre receives funds raised directly for the Centre by fundraisers (last year $70,000 was raised by our wonderful community), and we also receive grant funding from the Dry July Foundation. Since 2014, Dry July has been a strong supporter of the ONJ Centre providing over $600,000 in grants for wellness and supportive care programs.
You can make a donation to Ben's fundraising page by clicking HERE