Joan's story: Going dry to honour a memory

In late July of 2021, Joan McVean lost her husband Don to prostate cancer. Joan wasn't able to celebrate Don's life with family and friends due to pandemic restrictions at the time. But she still wanted to find a way to honour his memory. With the Dry February challenge – or Dry Feb  – Joan could honour Don while fundraising for vital research.

Fundraising with a personal touch

As a first-time participant, Joan found it easy to sign up on the Dry Feb website and get started with fundraising. She initially set a fundraising goal of $250 but within 20 minutes of sending out her first five emails, she raised $350.

Wanting to do even better, Joan reached out to the fundraising team at the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) to learn how she could reset her fundraising goal. Joan learned she could personalize her emails and speak to the people who knew her and Don.

She sent these personalized emails to everyone on her email list and got even more Dry Feb donations. By the end of Dry Feb, Joan had raised $5000 in honour of Don and cancer research.

Joan and Don McVean
Joan and Don McVean

Making sure you have support when you need it

The funds Joan raised, as part of Dry Feb, were important to her because of the support she and Don had received from CCS during his treatment. The Wheels of Hope program ensured that Don was able to receive safe and reliable transportation to his appointments and treatment. The transportation support eased the stress on Joan so she could focus on Don and not how they would get his treatment. 

The Dry Feb donations raised by Joan in Don’s honour helps people affected by cancer feel less alone and overwhelmed. When we spoke to Joan she told us just how important it is to let others know about the resources CCS has available. “Many of us like to try and think that we'll manage on our own and so forth but just knowing that they're there, that there are people there to support you, helps so much.”

Join Joan this February

By reaching out to her friends and family, Joan made an impact on the future of cancer in Canada. And you can join her and other participants across Canada by signing up to go dry this February. You can learn more about preparing for the Dry Feb challenge and the impact your alcohol-free month will make on the Dry Feb website.

Headshot of Joan McVean.
Joan McVean

Help us make a difference. Feel the benefits of going dry while fundraising for Dry Feb to support world-leading research and compassionate support programs to help people affected by cancer.

*Dry Feb is not offered in the province of Quebec