Overwhelming support for dry July

By Daniel Hughes

More than $8000 will be donated to improve the comfort, care and wellbeing of people affected by cancer thanks to some of the Southern Riverina's Dry July participants.

The Gorman siblings - Laura, Matthew, Stephanie and William - raised $1564 combined.

Sisters Angie and Josie Thomas were joined by 11 others to form a fundraising committee, and managed a combined $6647 throughout July.

Josie Thomas and sister Angie Thomas swapped their wine glasses for coffee mugs during Dry July.

Both teams had set a conservative goal to raise $1000 each.

The Gormans said they could only exceed thier goal because of the "unreal support" from clients and community members.

Having a strong background to health and fitness, heavily involved with Berrigan's 2712 Fitness Gym, the Gormans saw it as a good chance to be healthy and raise funds for a good cause.

Laura Gorman received a lot of support from her fitness club when she took on the Dry July challenge.

“We are a family that loves a challenge, and being as social as we are, not drinking for a month seemed like a tough one we wanted to conquer,” Laura said.

“We understood that giving up alcohol for the whole 31 days would bring multiple health benefits that we were willing to explore and share back to all our clients.

"We honestly probably needed a break, and as much as the world is crazy right now, it was a month with limited social activity on and easy enough to complete.
"We set a goal of $1000 really hoping we’d get there because the funds go to such a good cause. We have been absolutely blown away with all the generous donations from so many different people.
"We raised more than $1500 and that in itself was another motivator to push to the very end."
Laura said the family would be signing up again in the future.
"There is no one in our immediate family that has had the awful experience of cancer, but we all know someone who, in some way, has been directly effected and we wanted to do it for them.
"The challenge wasn’t as difficult as we initially thought it was going to be."
Laura said while the each had the willpower to meet the challenge, the Coronavirus pademic helped with the successful completion.
"Because it is winter and we are in the middle of a pandemic, it wasn’t as though we were ‘missing out’ on any major functions,” she said.
"Throughout the challenge, we really noticed the benefits of giving up alcohol. Our sleep improved, so did our overall exercise and food habits and we just felt better about ourselves.
"There were obviously some times were we’d be standing around a fire with friends feeling weird we didn’t have a drink in our hands but I believe that was just out of pure habit and the feeling passed just as quickly as it came."

The fundraising delegation led by the Thomas sisters has extra inspiration to stick to the conditions of the challenge this year.

They signed up in honour of their friends Lachlan Webster and Lowana Congram. Locky was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in June.

Other Team Locky members were Scott Williams, Millie-Jayne Harris, Miranda Maxwell, Madelin Brooks, Sarah Gray, Jemima Lewis, Marcus Jackson, Graeme Hendy, Tim Brown, Catherine Ryan and Laura Rowan.

Angie Thomas and Miranda Maxwell opted for soda and lime instead of alcohol during Dry July.

“It went really well. We are absolutely stoked with the amount of support we received and the generosity of people,” Angie said.

“We are really proud of how much we raised. Alcohol was very tempting when the borders closed and a second lockdown was imposed for the Melbourne people participating, but we all stuck it out.

“A few people utilised the ‘golden ticket’, but the money goes to charity so a sneaky night off is okay.

“Lowana and Locky have been super supportive and grateful. They have both sent me messages to say thank you and well done on how much we raised.

“Locky told us ‘when it's all over I'll definitely be shouting you guys a few rounds'.”

While the Dry July challenge has ended, fundraising is still open. Go to and search ‘Team Locky’ or ‘The Gormans’ to donate.