Local residents are being urged to give booze the boot this October in order to help spread the message about one of Australia’s silent killers.
‘Ocsober’ is in its 10th year and is the national fundraising initiative by Life Education.
It aims to send a message to drinkers – young and old – that drinking alcohol shouldn’t be a regular habit.
Signing up again this year is Life Education’s NSW CEO Kellie Sloane, who has recruited three of her girlfriends to join her in the challenge.
Keen to break unconscious habits and get fit for summer, Ms Sloane said life was too short to waste it on a hangover.
“I enjoy a glass of wine, I grew up in a wine region, but as I have more on my plate managing Life Education and three busy boys, I find that I’m drinking less because it’s harder to stay on my game and stay on the ball,” she said.
“I’m actually really excited about a cause to motivate me to better fitness because I have a goal to run a 10km race in November and I know I’ll be really embarrassed if I can’t do that.”
While this year’s Ocsober participants will be able to raise money throughout the challenge, which will go back into children’s education at Life Education, there is also a more serious reason to get behind the cause.
Almost 6,000 lives are lost each year in Australia due to alcohol, with 144,000 people being hospitalised as a result of alcohol consumed.
But the effects of alcohol don’t stop there, with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealing one in five Australians aged 14 and over had reported being a victim of an alcohol related incident in 2016.
“We hear about drugs at dance parties, we hear about ‘ice’ in regional communities in particular, but alcohol is the most harmful drug in society,” Ms Sloane said.
“At Life Education, we’re not wowsers, we’re not saying stop full-time, but we are saying it is really healthy to take a break, even if it’s just a month to break the habit of having a drink at every celebration, or just even because it’s five o’clock.
“I’d just urge Penrith and surrounding residents to give it a shot.”
For more information on how you can participate in the month, visit www.lifeeducation.org.au.
Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.