Alcohol-free month a "breeze in comparison" | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News

Dry July has acknowledged that 2020 has been a difficult year for many – and has even introduced the Dry..ish July with options of 14 or 21 days dry.

Despite the alternative option this year, Kevin MacIsaac will be going a full 31 days dry to support patient comfort at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. His partner Caitlin was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 2017 and is currently back at Lifehouse receiving treatment.

It won’t be Kevin’s first Dry July but this year he knows it won’t be the same. We catch up with him to find out what the difference is, and why he’s keen to support patient comfort at Lifehouse.

How have you and Caitlin found your experience at Chris O’Brien
Lifehouse since she was diagnosed?

It’s not the first or usual response when people think about their hospital experience or with cancer in general, but we feel lucky to be under the care of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

We’re lucky to live close to Lifehouse, we were lucky to have an exceptional team of surgeons available to perform Caitlin’s initial surgery, we’re lucky to have access to world-leading integrative health support, and we’re lucky enough to have developed close relationships and friendships with many of the Lifehouse family over the last three years.

The nursing staff are a cut above any other clinical teams we’ve met elsewhere and it’s clear that this standard is set from the outset, from securing the right people to consistently delivering quality care alongside technical excellence. One doesn’t work without the other.

Caitlin and Kevin

What made you want to give back by fundraising through Dry July?

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is a non-profit hospital that never fails to deliver world leading care in a modern, inspiring, nurturing environment. I understand that philanthropy and corporate sponsorship plays a huge role in allowing Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to continue without compromise.

Anything I can do to give back to our second home is pale in comparison to what it’s given us through the worst event of our lives, namely understanding, laughter, emotional and physical support, and above all, hope.

Dry July funds patient comfort and care – how has the holistic care that Lifehouse provides –
The Living Room programs, patient transport, art therapy – been helpful to Caitlin and yourself?

Caitlin is a mega-user and vocal advocate for the LivingRoom services. We’ve turned chemo days into mini spa treatments with foot massages, gym sessions, mindfulness meditations, and others all available to nurture and revitalise Caitlin.

Dr Judith Lacey is just spectacular in her breadth of knowledge and her unending efforts to support Caitlin’s holistic health. It’s impossible to enter the LivingRoom without getting a smile from Alison on the desk and leaving lighter, uplifted and held.

If you know someone receiving treatment, one of the most thoughtful and impactful gifts you can give, more than the usual “if there’s anything I can do…” is to introduce them to supportive care services. They turn something emotional and confronting into something that really does make a difference to whole health and wellbeing.

Do you think Dry July will be easier or harder for you this year?

We live in a world of excess and indulgence, and something to come out of our journey over the last few years is a greater appreciation and gratitude for what we have. So it makes sense to break the auto-pilot every so often and have a chance to go without something long enough to miss it.

Given the horrors of 2020 so far, anything could happen so I’m looking forward to getting on top of my mental and physical health so I can deal with whatever comes our way. It’s a great excuse to hit reset and set some new fitness goals for me. I raised about $3,000 for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse last time I did Dry July in 2017 so I’m hoping to beat that this time.

It’s going to be a long month but I’m looking forward to turning every social event into a fundraising opportunity rather than a wine tasting. Caitlin has been denied so many treats and pleasures since her initial diagnosis, that a little month without alcohol is a breeze in comparison and might just do everyone (except the Bottlo) some good.

We wish both Caitlin and Kevin the best of luck in the coming month and are so grateful for the support the pair are showing Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

It’s not too late to join Kevin and sign up for Dry July 2020 – just contact Sara at Sara.Walker@lh.org.au or on (02) 8514 0300. You can also support Kevin by going to his Dry July page and making a donation.

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