People and Places
20/12/2020
Flood of support for cancer patients during Dry July

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Mornington Peninsula resident and cancer patient Steve Mahoney and his wife, Robyn, are grateful that donations from Dry July have enabled The Royal Melbourne Hospital to deliver vital services to help Steve get through his cancer journey.

Dry July donations reached an impressive $10 million last year, with more than 38,000 Australians giving up alcohol to raise money for those affected by cancer. Dry July has 33 beneficiaries, including The Royal Melbourne Hospital, which last year received $71,754 that enabled it to provide a dedicated room to patients such as Steve where they can receive treatment in privacy and with dignity. 

Treatment for head and neck cancer affects the face, eating, drinking and speech, which has resulted in changes to Steve’s appearance. Compared with other forms of cancer, the scars and side effects of treatment are visible and cannot be hidden by clothes. Steve has been living with cancer for just over two years and found that basic tasks such as social outings, gardening, and washing the car took a toll on him. Being extremely tired is a major part of living with cancer and going through extensive radiation, chemotherapy and a year of immunotherapy because Steve’s cancer has also spread to his lungs. However, many aspects of his life remained the same and they were cherished moments: he attended special events over the past couple of years such as the Melbourne Cup, NRL games and family outings. The support from his family and friends was key and he appreciated the outpouring of love. 

Robyn has been an invaluable support for Steve and speaks out about the mental effects of cancer in addition to the physical challenges.  “The time after treatment for cancer is often called ‘survivorship’,” she said. “Getting used to life after cancer can take some time. Many people say cancer changes them and that they feel different, even if they look the same. People adjust in different ways, but people often feel that you and the things that are important to you have changed. This is sometimes described as your ‘new normal’. We would like to think our new normal is much the same as our old normal too – living and loving life, and sharing the most precious time and having adventures with our family and friends. We accomplished two major things during our ‘Dryish’ July: 12 days without alcohol but more importantly reaching our target of $5000 and going beyond that by our team raising over $10,000.”

Steve and Robyn’s story shows why this money is so vital. Steve is just one of the many Australians who have been helped by the money raised during Dry July – and it’s not too late for you to support this wonderful initiative. Visit www.dryjuly.com/teams/team-mahoney

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