Tips from a Seasoned DJ

Going Dry in July doesn’t get easier third time round but experience has helped Darren Box, General Manager at the Department of Human Services, improve his fund raising game.

Last year Darren raised $1,000 for adult cancer; this year he has more than doubled that, thanks to support from his friends, family and colleagues.

So what did he do differently?

Besides hitting up his network for donations, Darren enlisted the help of his fellow colleagues who helped him organise a hugely successful bake sale, raising over $600. Not to mention casual Fridays for a gold coin donation and a sausage sizzle to wrap up the end of the dry season.

‘I am very grateful for all the support. Fund raising is a lot of work, it takes a lot of time and effort. We started fund raising from mid-July and the team have put in an amazing effort to help me. I never knew there were so many good bakers working with me! Having help and a game plan this year has really made a difference. Although we raised a fair amount at the bake sale, we hope to raise even more at the sausage sizzle. Every donation counts.’  

Although his birthday falls in July, staying committed to the cause is easy for a number of reasons— Darren has had leukaemia in his family and lost a close friend to cancer.

‘It hasn’t been the easiest journey,’ says Darren ‘alcohol is a big part of life for a lot of people. It’s everywhere and until you have to say no, you don’t realise how prevalent it is. Giving up a drink on my birthday is nothing compared to what adult cancer patients go through.’

As the number one fund raiser in the A.C.T. and a frequent dryer, Darren has plans to do even better next year.

‘There is no greater feeling than helping others. Knowing that I was able to raise money to help adult cancer patients is a reward in itself, getting ranked first in the A.C.T. is a bonus. Maybe if we start fund raising earlier next year, we can get even better results. Personally, I believe that every contribution made, no matter how large or small, goes towards charities helping Australians most in need. Even if you aren’t able to raise much, don’t give up and don’t let it stop you from trying because that dollar you raise could make a difference’

Stuart’s very special Dry July tribute

At the halfway point in Dry July Stuart Poole is the highest fundraiser in the ACT and has chosen to support The Canberra Hospital. Here, Stuart has generously offered to share his story of why Dry July is a cause close to his heart.

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This time last year my brother and I attempted Dry July; we did our best, but at times we received a few golden tickets, and sometimes we just needed a naughty drink.

Why naughty? Well at this time last year our beautiful Mum was fading away. Mum had pancreatic cancer. Around this time last year our worst fears were confirmed, the spots on her liver were cancer too.

It was very stressful to watch our beautiful Mother on life support, it was hard to talk with doctors about how much longer it should continue. Sleep was infrequent, with a couple of 1am phone calls to “get in now”. We were doing our best, but given the circumstances, we snuck a few drinks in. None of our close friends that had sponsored us seemed to mind given the circumstances. Family were coming to say their goodbyes, and every time I left the hospital at night, you knew each goodbye could be the last.

My brother and I both started working part time, so we could have an extra day with Mum each in the week. On Friday August 29th when I went to see her, Mum was weak; she asked me to let her rest, so I went home at lunch and came back in the afternoon. Her friend Coleen came to visit from Wagga (Mum was in Canberra Hospice) and looked at Mum and fled the room and the hospice in tears. She couldn’t believe what she saw. Mum was down to less than 40 kilos, her face was grey and wrinkly. I guess because I had watched the transition I was used to how Mum looked these days.

At 5pm my brother rang from the hospice, he said Mum was very unwell and he was worried, he thought we better get in. My partner drove me in and on the way in the hospice staff handed us a card, with instructions on what was about to happen. It told us what to do when someone dies. I asked “is this it?” They said “yes, your Mother is about to leave us.” I was guttered, nothing can prepare you for this.

My brother and I held a hand each all night, as gradually Mum’s breathing slowed down, and became more and more “rattily”. I asked my Aunty, who was an ex nurse, “is that the death rattles?” “Yes”, she said, without elaborating. At 2 minutes past midnight Mum slowed right down and stopped. Dad proclaimed, “I think she’s gone”. My Aunty checked and said, “I’ll get the nurses.”

That was it, the beautiful lady that had raised us, taught us right from wrong, nursed us when we were sick, made play-dough for us on rainy days and all the other things a good Mother should do was gone forever. And that was that. I will never get over losing Mum. She was the best Mum you could hope for.

We can never change the horrible year that was 2014, nor can we bring Mum back. But we can help to raise money so other people can have a chance, so other families can be comfortable when they visit their loved ones in the ward.

I wish I had studied harder at school, so I could be a doctor, and be a part of the solution. Raising funds for Dry July is probably the best I can do. I feel good without alcohol. I’m hoping to lose a few kilos as well along the way. Maybe I will stay dry for a while after too?

It’s nice to be able to give back. The staff at the hospital and hospice were so nice to us.

To donate to Stuart visit: https://au.dryjuly.com/profile/stuartpoole.