We’ve loved being an official charity partner of Dry January 2018, the annual movement that helps people reset their relationship with alcohol. Maxine Lenza, World Cancer Research Fund Press and Communications Officer, takes a look at how our Dry January poster boys did.
Bill and Lewis
Neither of World Cancer Research Fund’s (WCRF) Dry January supporters had taken part in the annual campaign before, but both were keen to stay sober for the start of the New Year and to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol. You can read our introductions to both of them here.
But did they manage it?
The challenges faced
The start of the month is often hardest, but there are so many health incentives for taking a break from booze, from losing weight to better sleep. And both our boys faced their own personal challenges along the way.
Lewis said: “One particular challenge I faced was attending the BDO World Darts Championship at Lakeside on 10 January with some friends.” The sport is renowned for being enjoyed with a pint or two, but Lewis said, “I survived without a drop of alcohol” and stuck to drinking 0% beer. Lewis has also managed to cycle 1,000 miles in one month, to raise awareness of the link between physical activity and reduced cancer risk – no doubt the lack of a hangover helped.
Bill said: “In my first week, I went to the pub with friends for the Merseyside derby in the FA Cup”, but he too steered clear of the booze and said he “drank sparkling water all night”. Unfortunately, Bill was then hospitalised for two weeks. However, he said that “doing Dry January from a hospital bed is cheating”, and has pledged to do an additional two dry weeks at the start of February!
So, with great delight, we can say that both Bill and Lewis stayed sober for 31 days, with support from friends and family, and of course all of us here at WCRF.
Bill’s close friend, Lynda Tavakoli, said: “We’re all so proud of Bill for setting the example of staying dry for a whole month, despite all the recent challenges he’s faced, and the way he’s shared his own story to encourage others to make lifestyle choices that will help to reduce their cancer risk.”
Feeling the effects of going dry
Both Bill and Lewis say they can already feel the health benefits of ditching alcohol, such as more energy; Bill said he even had a spring in his step. And Lewis said by the end of the month he wasn’t even thinking about alcohol.
Lewis’ wife, a specialist Head & Neck Cancer Dietitian, said: “It's been amazing seeing Lewis complete Dry January! He’s completely embraced it and felt the health benefits – not drinking has really helped his fitness.”
And what about the rest of the year?
Looking to the future
Bill will stay dry for the next two weeks, and says he will be an advocate for drinking in moderation in the future. Lewis says he will continue to cycle and feel the benefits that not excessively drinking can have on his energy and exercise goals.
All our cancer prevention supporters
We were thrilled to see how many of you followed Bill and Lewis’ story and took inspiration from their great example to raise funds to support our cancer prevention work during Dry January. To date, we have raised over £1,850 from 79 incredible fundraisers – most of whom were new to our cause – with a few days still left to collect donations. Thank you all. And it’s not just all about January; you can cut back on alcohol any time of the year! Check out our recipe pages for some alcohol-free cocktails, try our alcohol calorie calculator and stay informed with our alcohol factsheet