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Staying sober until September: Windsor man extends Dry February pledge

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Pure Country 89’s Nathan Carr is exceeding his own expectations as his Dry February fundraiser in honour of his late mother, Debbie winds down.

‘Dry-Feb’ is a national fundraiser that challenges Canadians to go alcohol free for the month of February while raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS).

“It's unreal,” Carr exclaimed.

“I had done Dry January for the last couple of years and I saw the ads online and I was like maybe there's something here to the Dry Feb. It is a shorter month and maybe I could do some good.”

Carr’s initial goal to raise $250 was far exceeded earlier this month, with donations now surpassing $1600.

As each new fundraising goal was achieved, Carr extended his alcohol-free pledge, eventually pausing on September 21, to honour his mom’s 73rd birthday.

“I feel like I could go the distance right now,” Carr said. “It's still February. We got a long way to go, but it's my chance to step up. Everybody else certainly has stepped up and I’m very thankful and full of gratitude for all the donations that have come in and now it's my turn to make good on my pledge as well.”

In a release earlier this month, the CCS said this was the 9th annual Dry-Feb campaign and that research shows that drinking any type of alcohol (beer, wine or spirits) raises your risk of at least 9 different types of cancer.

"Changing attitudes and perceptions around our relationships with alcohol are a new frontier in cancer prevention and healthy living,” said Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society. “We know that 2 out of 10 people in Canada drink alcohol daily and over 40 per cent are unaware that alcohol consumption increases the risk of multiple cancers. Not only does Dry Feb spark important conversations about alcohol, it’s also a great way to challenge yourself, your friends and your community while having fun and giving back to a meaningful cause.”

CCS said that taking a month-long break from alcohol can have some great health benefits including sleeping better, increased energy and an improved general sense of well-being. Noting in 2023, over two thirds of Dry Feb participants cited the health benefits of eliminating alcohol as their reason for participating in Dry Feb again.

Carr said, “I feel so much more healthy. I’m sleeping better even though I still have a toddler at home. I'm waking up less miserable and I'm feeling just better in general. So when they say that it's gonna make you feel a little more healthy, there's some definite truth to that.”

Carr told CTV News he’s keeping his fundraising initiative off the radio airwaves, instead crediting its success to his social media following along with friends and family.

“It shows you not only you know the impact that my mom had on the lives of a lot of people, but just cancer in general and what it's done and people who have been touched by it,” Carr said. “Strangers that don't even know me or might vaguely know me through social media were reaching out as well and sending donations. It's awesome.”

“It's just something that you know, a big accomplishment in my life something I'm proud of something I've thought about doing but never done. And this is going to hopefully pave the way to do other things that maybe I've thought about doing.”

“I know cancer is often seen as kind of a heavy subject. A lot of people have trouble talking about it. But we can have some fun too and we can rally together and try and continue to push for the cures and the technology to get better and better in that field.”

Carr added he hopes his pledge will inspire others to try something new, noting he believes his mother would be proud.

“I know she's looking down and she's always kind of wanted me to maybe take a little bit of a step back from it to get myself a little more healthy, think about others and I know she's very proud of what we've been doing now.”

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