Dry July

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Lauren Clarke is a 29-year-old Executive Assistant at a large Australian retail business. She is single with no children.


Q. What inspired Lauren to take part in the Dry July journey? (is it the first time?)

“This is my first-time taking part in Dry July. The reason I have signed up is because a work colleague and close friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Leukaemia. It came as a huge shock to everyone at work, the last we’d heard he was planning to go to his GP for a routine check-up regarding a virus he couldn’t shake. We then learnt that he had been admitted straight to hospital and began treatment the very next day.

It all happened very quickly, and 4 months later he is still undergoing treatment. Since his diagnosis I’ve researched a lot about Leukaemia and the Leukaemia Foundation and thought about the best ways I could be helping him throughout his journey, but also supporting the many others who are affected by cancer. This is the main reason I have decided to commit to the Dry July challenge and why my chosen organisation is the Leukaemia Foundation.”


Q.  Has Lauren been personally impacted by cancer and if so, how?

“Fortunately, I haven’t had any experience with cancer myself, or within my family or friendship circle up until this point. It’s one of those things that I didn’t really know a lot of information about until it happened to someone I knew. I decided to educate myself so that I really understood the battle that my friend, and his family, were facing and could assist in any way I could. I now realise that it’s not just one round of chemo and then you’re in the clear, the chemotherapy journey can go on for months, even years with so many hurdles along the way. You can never quite comprehend the journey until you speak to someone who is facing the challenge first hand.”


Q. How does Lauren feel heading into a month without alcohol? (how regularly does Lauren drink currently)

“I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be pretty tough for me as I’m usually out socialising most nights. I’m a bit of a social butterfly, so people think that this is an appropriate challenge for me…as it will actually be a challenge! When my family and friends heard I was taking part in Dry July this year, they were more nervous than me, constantly asking if I will be able to get through it. In saying that one month is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and if this is one way I can contribute to helping my friend as well as many other people, then bring it on! I feel like when you have someone in mind and a good reason behind taking a month off from alcohol, it puts things into perspective and drives you to get through the month as well as raise money of course.”

“I’m normally out a few nights a week and will always have at least one drink (usually more) when I’m out so I’m going to substitute my alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic cocktails to keep it interesting. I’m lucky that so far, I only have one friend’s birthday party in July and there aren’t any engagement parties, weddings or work drinks in the diary…yet. After Dry July finishes I’m off to Tuscany in Italy for a friend’s wedding, so the positive is all the money I save in July from not drinking I can use on my holiday! Post Dry July, my goal is to limit my alcohol intake overall, mainly to benefit my health!”


Q.  How does Lauren feel about the strong support already received?

“I’m so overwhelmed by the support I’ve received so far, it’s even from people I don’t know which is so heart-warming. My friend has worked at our company for 38 years so he is definitely well known and well-loved, the support for him has been incredible to say the least.

I touched base with him recently and he is doing ok, he is currently being treated with a trial drug and this is another reason the team and I are doing so much fundraising for the Leukaemia Foundation. From research into trial drugs and treatment access, to the Transport to Treatment program that Dry July specifically funds, we want to do as much as we can. We have helped raise funds many different ways, for example we have hosted morning teas and raffles at work, raising about $10,000 in just 4 months and me taking part in Dry July is just another way in which people can chip in and support. My friend is blown away by the support that I’ve received so far, and it has really lifted his spirits which I’m pleased about, I know that being diagnosed with Leukaemia has turned his life upside down and how much of a mental battle it is for him.”


Q.  Why should people continue supporting her Dry July journey?

“I would love for people to continue to help support my journey and the work Dry July does, because it’s creating awareness which many people may not know a lot about. It can help support those with Leukaemia providing them with comfortable services while they are undergoing their cancer treatment. Obviously, there are so many people affected by this cancer and none of these services would ever be possible without the funds they receive from donations.”


Q.  Anything else ?

“I’ve surpassed my funds target, but I think now it’s just all about raising a much money as physically possible until the end of July.”


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