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Friends’ dry January helps raise thousands for charities

Dry January: a group of friends, known as "dryathletes", used dry January to raise money for charities. Back row from left: Patrick Graham, Sean Field-Lament, Adrian Hartnett-Beasley - chairperson of recipient charity OUTBermuda, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Beasley, Mike Butler. Front row from left: Sherri Lee Bucci, president of recipient charity Bermuda Autism Support and Education, Rikki Hornett.

Two charities will be boosted by $2,500 each after a group of friends pledged to give up alcohol for a month.

About 25 “dryathletes” chose to donate funds to Bermuda Autism Support and Education and OutBermuda.

Members paid to join the team with the intent of going alcohol-free for January.

Lapses incurred a penalty payment, which resulted in more money raised.

Sherri Lee Bucci, the president of BASE, thanked the group and said: “We are a small charity but we have a big heart.”

She explained: "People typically think of children and boys when they think of autism, so I’m happy for the opportunity to share that adults have autism and they work, they live among us.

“Many of them get very exhausted because they often work hard to fit in.”

Ms Bucci said: “There’s also a movement to unmask, and unmask means to be yourself. You don’t have to act a certain way to fit in, we will accept you as you are.”

She added that the donation came at a good time as the charity prepared to launch its updated website, to reflect that people of all ages are affected by autism.

Ms Bucci said: “This type of support is important because it does bring awareness.

“It encourages us that even though we are a small, what they call mom-and-pop charity, it lets us know that people such as these are aware and they want to do something.”

Adrian Hartnett-Beasley, the chairperson of OutBermuda, said the charity was “always grateful for community involvement, especially with allies”.

He added: “It highlights just how ingenious and creative people can be with fundraising.

“It demonstrates, as well, just how much people do want to give and are supportive of charities.”

Mr Hartnett-Beasley said: “OutBermuda has got a big year ahead – our second year of Pride … and our new executive director.

“So we are very appreciative of any donations that are going to help a lot of programming happening this year.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment and one of the dryathlete organisers, said the “dry January” fundraising had run for about eight years.

He explained: “We try to look for smaller charities that could use the support in line with how much we raise.

“They are non-political, non-religious charities and usually have a good community feel to them. We tend to pick new charities every year.”

The challenge began as a bet to see who could go a month without drinking, then more friends got involved and the group gradually grew.

Lieutenant-Colonel Beasley added: “It’s a win-win either way because, either people are doing dry January and challenging themselves or if they fail, the community wins.”

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Published February 08, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated February 08, 2023 at 7:54 am)

Friends’ dry January helps raise thousands for charities

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