‘Go Dry in July’ is a movement that has been embraced by the Austin Health community, in particular patients, families, staff, carers and friends. In an unprecedented move, Dry July Foundation requested to hold their December Board Meeting here at Austin Health, and had a few surprises up their sleeve.
Each year, tens of thousands of people around Australia take on the Dry July challenge, refraining from drinking alcohol and asking their family and friends to support them by donating to their cause. The ONJ Centre receives funds raised directly for the Centre by fundraisers (this 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 including:
- the music recording studio
- exercise equipment
- gentle yoga
- oncology massage
- post-treatment group program Live Well
- a dietician delivering nutrition support to patients and their families
- wellness planning
- the Cancer Information and Resource Service.
We were honoured to be asked to hold Dry July’s Board Meeting (the first time they have held a board meeting outside of Sydney) and our Acting CEO, Dr Mary O’Reilly, was delighted when Dry July CEO and founder Brett MacDonald announced Dry July would be giving an additional $97,400 in grant funding to the ONJ Centre. This makes 2018 our most successful year yet with over $180,000 coming from Dry July to support vital wellness programs, improving patient comfort, care and wellbeing.
This money will help ensure the survival of many of the wellness and supportive care programs that help to make the ONJ Centre such a special place for patients and their families.
Patient Suzi Juracic eloquently expressed to the Dry July Board how much their funding means to her because it gives her access to programs which help her balance sometimes difficult treatments with psychological and emotional support.
“The ONJ Centre is about treatment combined with wellness. Treatment is about diagnosis, wellness is about recovery and it becomes about the whole person. I am so incredibly grateful to Dry July for recognising this and helping the ONJ Centre provide such wonderful support for patients like me.”
Dry July Board Members were taken on a tour of the ONJ Centre, and were delighted to be able to see many programs in action including the music recording studio, the open art studio, an art exhibition, the Information Lounge as well as chat to our two new Exercise Physiologists.
Dry July Board Chairman and Director Ian Elliot was humbled by Suzi’s words and it helped him to see just how significant wellness programs are for people and their families going through cancer.
“If we heard nothing else today but Suzi’s words, we would know that what we (Dry July) are doing is absolutely worthwhile.”
Dry July is a wonderful example of how you can make a difference to help people with cancer have access to a wide and varied range of wellness and supportive care. If you’d like to go Dry in July in 2019, you can register your interest here
We are deeply grateful to the Dry July Foundation for their significant support for people with cancer and their families.