By Candice-Rose Gagnon 
BELLEVILLE – The Canadian Cancer Society  is challenging people to give up alcohol for the month of February.
Participants in Dry Feb will give up booze for one month and reap the potential health benefits while raising money for eradicating cancer.
People who are participating will raise money by creating a profile page  and receive donations online.
Some of the other benefits of ditching alcohol, according to the cancer society, are reducing the risk of cancer, weight loss and clearer skin.
It is estimated that 10,700 cancer diagnoses in Canada last year alone were related to alcohol consumption, the society says.
The concept of ditching booze and raising money for cancer started in a bar with friends eight years ago in Australia. Dry Fed spokesperson Brett MacDonald told QNet News this week that he and his friends have all had personal connections to cancer.
“We decided to set ourselves up not to drink for a month and to see who could last the longest,” MacDonald said by phone from Toronto. “It got started on the first of the month and it got called the Dry July challenge.”
MacDonald founded a company to promote the campaign called Clear Heads International . Fundraisers were started in New Zealand and Britain. The organization has raised over $23 million for cancer societies around the world.
MacDonald has travelled from Australia to assist with the campaign here in Canada, where Dry Feb is running for the first time. While it is open to all Canadians, the main push is in Ontario.
So far there are over 200 participants signed up for Dry Feb, and organizers hope to get 1,000.
The campaign will raise money for the cancer society, which assists Canadians living with cancer, and for furthering cancer research.
Susan Flynn, the society’s senior manager of cancer prevention for Ontario, is participating in Dry Feb. She said she has two main reasons.
“It’s an opportunity for me to improve my health by going booze-free for the month of February, and it’s an opportunity for me to raise awareness and raise funds to support this wonderful organization.”
Raising awareness about alcohol-related cancers is important, said Flynn. “We recently conducted a survey (of Ontarians) that demonstrated that only 28 per cent … realized that alcohol in beer, wine and spirits causes cancer.”
Alcohol is one of the top three leading causes of cancer deaths worldwide, according to the cancer society.
If you are interested in participating, go to DryFeb.ca