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Cancer Council WA 2019 Dry July

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WA musician encourages a month off the booze for Dry July

Well known Perth musician, kidney cancer survivor and WA Dry July Ambassador, Dr Errol H Tout, is encouraging people to sign up to Dry July to raise much needed funds for Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 information and support service.

Errol was just 53 when a surprise cancer diagnosis changed his life. “In 2012, I was lecturing in architecture at UWA during the day and a musician at night,” Errol said.
“My Mum had just died on July 17 and that week I was lying in bed one night when I felt a rather odd lump on the right side of my stomach. “I had it checked out and found out it was a 2.2kg malignant tumour on my right kidney.”

The tumour was successfully removed, but a three month check-up revealed the tumour had spread to his liver.
“The liver surgeon asked me how much I drank, and when I told him roughly a bottle a night, he told me to go 12 months without alcohol then come back to see him,” he said. “So I did. I just quit on the spot and didn’t touch a drop for the next 12 months. I can’t tell how much I enjoyed telling the young police officer on the booze bus that I hadn’t drunk in a year and hand me the mouthpiece - I nearly blew it apart!”

But in 2013 the news was just as grim. “The liver specialist then told me that the tumour was now too big and in a difficult place and there was nothing more they could do for me. “I was not prepared to accept this outcome, nor was I about to look into palliative care at the age of 54 years, so I kept seeking second and third opinions until I was satisfied.” Errol has spent the past seven years defying the odds including flying interstate for controversial surgery that saw 30 per cent of his liver removed and participating in overseas cancer programs that screened his type of cancer against a database of 200,000 other cases. He is currently responding well to immunotherapy in Perth.

While Errol still lives with a tumour on his liver, his outlook to his cancer and his music remains positive. “I should have been dead a long time ago, but I have a firm belief in the healing power of music,” he said. “It’s pretty difficult to describe, but when I’m making music my particles align; my body feels healthier and there’s no room for cancer. It feels I am connected to something larger than myself. “The initial surgery was really only supposed to prolong my life for a few more years, but medical treatment has come such a long way. I have also been treated by amazingly skilful and knowledgeable medical practitioners. “My advice is don’t ever give up. Always get a second opinion and if you don’t like that get a third opinion. Keep asking until you find someone who is going to do what you want. I have also been very fortunate in receiving a huge amount of support form my wife, my son and family and a cast of thousands of medical folk.

“If it wasn’t for me getting a second opinion seven years ago I would not have been around to celebrate my 60th birthday this month. “If I can give up alcohol for a whole year, anyone can give up just for month for such a good cause, so I urge you and your friends to sign up before July 1 or support your friends and family who are doing Dry July for Cancer Council in 2019. This year, funds raised through Dry July – a fundraiser that challenges Australians to forgo alcohol for a month and raise funds in support of people affected by cancer – will go to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Information and Support Line.

Cancer Council WA CEO Ashley Reid said committing to the Dry July fundraiser was great way to raise funds for an important cause. “Our 13 11 20 Information and Support Line is a confidential service run by experienced cancer support professionals and is available to those affected by or concerned about cancer,” Mr Reid said. “The service connects Australians with relevant support, information and resources to help them through their cancer journey. Last year, the service provided support to over 41,000 callers.”

Mr Reid said that participating in Dry July also yielded a range of health benefits but warned participants not to opt for sugary drinks in place of alcohol and encouraged them to continue their efforts past July to maintain the health benefits.

“Going dry for July is a great opportunity to look at how you can reduce your overall alcohol consumption,” he said. “Alcohol is a cause of cancer; research shows that more than 3,200 cancers can be attributed to alcohol consumption, such as mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, bowel and breast cancers.

“To reduce your cancer risk and improve your health and wellbeing, we recommend you limit how much alcohol you drink or better still, avoid drinking alcohol altogether.
“If you choose to drink, limit your intake to a maximum of two drinks a day and make sure you have alcohol-free days.”

People wanting to participate in Dry July and help Cancer Council to continue supporting thousands of Australians affected by cancer via their 13 11 20 Information and Support Line can sign up at dryjuly.com/cancercouncil.

For more information about Cancer Council’s support services, visit www.cancer.org.au or call 13 11 20.

When?

Monday, July 01 – Wednesday, July 31

Where?

Western Australia

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