Our Charitable Choices Feature this week is on the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS)! A nationally recognized organization, this month CCS works to inform and educate Canadians on the effects of alcohol on cancer risk through Dry Feb. We spoke to a representative to learn more about this life-improving initiative.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of staff and volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. Dry Feb is a fundraiser that challenges participants to go alcohol-free in February to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. It helps you get healthy and clear your head while also raising funds for an important cause. Having a month off alcohol also has great health benefits, such as sleeping better, having more energy and of course, no hangovers! So, you’re not only helping others, you’re helping yourself. It’s a win-win!
What problem does it aim to solve?
Drinking any type of alcohol increases your risk of head and neck, breast, stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and liver cancers. Yet only 1/3 of Canadians are aware that there is a link between alcohol and an increased risk of cancer. Dry Feb aims to educate and empower Canadians to take action to protect themselves while supporting a great cause.
When did you start/join it?
Dry Feb is an online third-party fundraiser run by Clear Heads International, an organization which has run similar “go alcohol-free for a month” fundraisers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand which have raised more $30 million dollars for cancer charities in these countries. The Canadian Cancer Society is the sole charitable beneficiary of the Dry Feb campaign in Canada and have been official partners since 2016.
What made you want to get involved?
Realizing the increased cancer-risk associated with drinking alcohol is alarming for many. Simply taking a month off alcohol also presents many immediate health benefits like Increased energy levels, higher productivity, improved concentration, clearer skin and not to mention, saving money. Pairing those benefits with the opportunity to support such a worthwhile cause and organization made it an easy decision to participate in Dry Feb.
What was the situation like when you started?
Dry Feb started in 2016 as an Ontario regional program with fewer than 1,000 participants and raised over $45,000 in its first year. The program was expanded to nationwide shortly after and this year we already have over 13,000 Canadians participating in Dry Feb across Canada.
How has it changed since?
Last year, Dry Feb raised more than $600,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, we hope to raise $1,000,000 and increase our participation nationwide!
What more needs to be done?
In general, Canadians need to be more aware of the increased cancer-risk associated with alcohol consumption. The more people who participate in Dry Feb and spread the word through their own fundraising, the more that awareness will grow all while helping the Canadian Cancer Society to fund vital research and support for those affected by cancer.
How can our readers help?
That’s an easy one – they can participate or donate! Visit DryFeb.ca to register today and if you’re not feeling up for the challenge this year, you can also donate to support the cause via the Dry Feb website. Every dollar makes a difference in helping to fund groundbreaking research and delivering Canada’s largest cancer support system dedicated to helping people affected by cancer.
Do you have any events coming up?
In addition to Dry Feb, the Canadian Cancer Society hosts numerous events and fundraisers throughout the year – from Relay For Life, to the CIBC Run for the Cure, and Daffodil Campaign. For more information on these and other events visit cancer.ca
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