Dry July isn’t just an excuse to brag about foregoing a few drinks at the pub on Friday night – it’s an opportunity to change someone’s life.
Since it began in 2008, more than 160,000 Australians have signed up for Dry July. Together they’ve raised an amazing $37 million for people living with cancer.
People like mum-of-two Sarah. Or medicine student Sinead. Or Dessy, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia.
Sarah Baxter had been meaning to have a mammogram for years.
She had a family history of breast cancer and she knew she might be at risk. Her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer at 42, and her aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer twice, so Sarah knew she had to get checked.
But Sarah had been a little busy. The mum-of-two had spent the past three years of her life either pregnant or breastfeeding, so a mammogram wasn’t likely to pick up abnormalities.
At the end of her maternity leave in August last year, after she had stopped breastfeeding her son Henry, Sarah finally decided to get a baseline test of her breasts.
An abnormality was found, and a biopsy the same day, confirmed it was breast cancer.
At her first appointment with her surgeon, Sarah met her McGrath Breast Care Nurse Rikki Hopkins, who was there with her every step of the way.
Knowing her family history, Sarah opted to have a double mastectomy and found Rikki hugely supportive of this decision. Follow up tests found additional, more aggressive cancer cells in her removed breast tissues.
Rikki couldn’t have been there without countless women giving up their nightly wine in July each year.