Drinks are off table for cancer cause

By Kiri Gillespie

Health experts will offer numerous reasons to give up alcohol, but a group of Tauranga friends taking on the Dry July challenge needed only one - their friend Jo.

In March, Jo Faulder was checking her breasts for signs of cancer for the first time when she found a lump. A few weeks later, the 34-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Friend Shelley Milham was shocked someone so young could get the disease.

"You tend to think it's older people who get cancer, but no," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

The Papamoa mum began thinking of ways to support her friend when she heard of the Dry July challenge - to not touch alcohol for a month in order to raise money for cancer sufferers.

"I thought it would be a nice thing to do," she said.

Ms Milham also asked friends to join up.

"It's funny, some people I thought would be keen to do it weren't.

People feel weird about asking people for money, but then others were keen.

"I was hoping for eight people but we got 13 so I was really pleased."

The group of men and women are all friends with Jo and named their group Team Jo, in her honour.

"Hopefully we can raise as much money as possible. You never know who you know that might need that money," Ms Milham said.

The group has already made the "top teams" list by raising more than $3000.

Ms Faulder said she was humbled by Team Jo and hoped their efforts would help raise awareness of how indiscriminate cancer could be.

"The thing I'm taking out of this is getting everyone I know to be aware of breast cancer and it can happen to people young and old."

Ms Faulder has had a partial mastectomy and is undergoing treatment.

"I'm just lucky I caught it early," she said. "It's a pretty full-on experience, especially at 34. Women need to be aware, there's so much in the media about checking your breasts. It's very easy to do and women need to make sure they do."

The money raised by Dry July participants will go to New Zealand hospitals and cancer services.

Anyone wishing to donate to Team Jo can do so at https://nz.dryjuly.com/team/teamjo.

Dry July

  • Dry July is a non-profit organisation aimed at improving the lives of adults living with cancer through an online social community giving up alcohol for the month of July. Each person taking part is sponsored and money raised goes toward 34 beneficiaries across New Zealand and Australia. Dry July also raises awareness of individual drinking habits and the value of a balanced healthy lifestyle. There are 154 people taking part in Dry July from the Bay of Plenty. To date, they have raised $8056.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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