Erin James: Keeping Calm and Going Dry this July

Give me a flute of bubbly in a crowded theatre foyer and I’m the happiest girl in the world.

dry july wallpaperI love clinking a glass with friends and colleagues to celebrate the work of our wonderful Aussie talent and, let’s face it, it’s quite nice to have a bevvy in the evening now, isn’t it?

However, those who know me well will know that the next 31 days are going to be tough. I am giving it all up. Oh, yes. No more clinking champagne flutes in foyers. No more warm reds with dinner. No more nightcaps to help me wind down after a show. No more Thirsty Thursday ciders. No, ladies and gents –  I’m going dry. For July.

AHHHHHHHH! (Keep calm, keep calm).

It’s not a new thing for me, this ‘Dry July’. In fact, 2013 marks my third year participating in what is likely to become something of a tradition, but this year and from now on, taking part in Dry July isn’t just a month off the booze. It’s much, much more than that.

For those who aren’t aware, Dry July is a non-for profit fundraising event which takes place across the month of July. Participants in the event give up alcohol for the month and any donations to support their efforts go towards helping adults living with cancer across the country.

This year, my Dry July journey is in support of my wonderful mum, who has just completed almost 9 months of treatment for breast cancer. Now, anyone who has come into contact with cancer as a reality in their lives (and I know that is a LOT of people) will know that the treatment and recovery involves a lot of time in hospital. That’s where the Dry July event comes in. Funds raised by all Dry July participants – or “DJs” – go towards facilitating implementation of patient monitoring software, chemotherapy treatment chairs, electronic lift chairs, installation of flat-screen TVs, renovation and painting of wards, replacement of furnishings within Palliative Care, family stay area upgrades and waiting area upgrades and the like in hospitals across the country. More specifically, any money raised from my individual efforts will be passed directly the hospital in Newcastle where my mother underwent much of her treatment.

I had long suspected that my mum was the strongest woman I know, and over the course of the last 9 months, I have come to realise my suspicions were correct. No matter what life throws at her, no matter what the hardship, she has and will respond with positivity, love and a strength that I can only aspire to possess.

So, this month I am going to test my strength by not accepting the red wine with dinner, the celebratory drink at my finance’s birthday party, the champagne in at interval during Legally Blonde, and proving that I too, can be strong. I know that the situations don’t compare at all. I know that giving up the luxury of choosing to have a glass of wine every now and then is not a difficult undertaking, and completing the task uses only a fraction of the strength needed to endure the treatment for any kind of cancer. But I want to help, I want to show support and this is a way I can do so AND create an awareness for a charity I believe in.

The Dry July event is a fantastic cause and it’s very dear to my heart. If you want to sponsor my Dry July efforts, head along to my Dry July profile. AussieTheatre is currently averaging over 90000 visits per month – if everyone gave $2 to the cause, we could make a huge difference.

Better still: join my team! Go Dry with me next month and together we can make a difference to many individuals and families across the country! You’ll feel better at the end, I promise. Healthier, happier and satisfied in the knowledge that you were active in supporting thousands of Australians who really do need it.

All donations $2 and over are tax deductible.

Donate to Erin’s Dry July efforts here

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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