World Cancer Research Fund UK is one of Dry January's official charity partners for 2018.

After suffering with aggressive bowel cancer, Bill explains why he will be doing Dry January this year.

"I'm lucky; they caught it in the nick of time."

Bill Jeffrey, 83, is living proof that it's never too late - and you're never too old - to take the plunge and reduce your alcohol intake. 

Fifteen years ago, Bill was diagnosed with aggressive bowel cancer. It was a very tough time - which Bill characteristically downplays, having always continued to live life to the full. Based in Belfast, he chairs the tenants' forum and sits on the committee of the board of a large housing association in Northern Ireland, and is an active supporter and promoter of culture and the arts, not least via his work as a literary agent. Recently he's even taken up cycling.

At his last annual check-up Bill's consultant gave him the great news that he wouldn't need to see him for another five years.

"Cancer did make me aware of the need to look after myself- we're none of us invincible", he says.

"I'm a regular, social drinker"

A well-known man about town, Bill admits that - despite his own experience of cancer - he hadn't previously been aware of the link between drinking alcohol and increased cancer risk. 

"I'd always thought of smoking as being the main cancer-causing risk. I'm a regular, social drinker", he explains. "My work means I'm frequently at conferences, book launches and arts openings, where there's always a glass of wine being offered to guests - wine is very much the 'social easer' and ice-breaker at these sorts of events. I don't drink alone at home, but it's also been true in the past that, at the end of a tough day, I might treat myself to a drink as a 'de-stresser'."

Because of this, Bill has been toying for a while with seeing if he could reduce his alcohol intake, and challenge himself to not drinking for a month, to see if it leaves him feeling healthier. 

"I had a bash at giving up during October, but I failed miserably; temptation was always being put in my path", he admits.

However, Bill currently has several neighbours who are living with cancer, and has a good friend, a poet and writer, who is a cancer survivor. So now he is determined to give Dry January his best shot. 

"I thought it'd offer me a great chance to stay the distance for a whole month"

"When I found out about Dry January through World Cancer Research Fund - who are all about helping people reduce their cancer risk through diet, weight management and physical activity - I thought it'd offer me a great chance to stay the distance for a whole month, especially with the support and resources I can call on from Alcohol Concern if I start to struggle," he says. 

"And I feel I'll be in very good company, with over five million people having taken on the challenge last year. If I can give it a try, you can too!"

World Cancer Research Fund will be following Bill's progress during Dry January via social media.

World Cancer Research Fund UK is the UK's leading cancer prevention charity. They fund research about and raise awareness of the link between a healthy lifestyle and reduced cancer risk. As the world's leading authority on the link between diet, weight and physical activity and cancer, WCRF hopes that supporting Dry January will encourage more people to reduce the amount they drink, which helps to reduce the risk of several common cancers. You can visit their website and learn more about their work here.

When you sign up for Dry January you can choose to fundraise or donate what you save from not drinking to one of our partner charities. In doing so, you will be supporting great charities such as the World Cancer Research Fund. Visit our fundraising page to learn more.