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Kieran is giving up alcohol when he would turn to it most

Kieran Biber knows the effect cancer can have on families all too well.

His father passed away from the disease aged 61 and in February, at just 32, his younger brother Brendan was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.

"It was meant to be his year," he says. "He was meant to get married in October, his business was doing well."

Brendan, left, and Kieran Biber.

Brendan, left, and Kieran Biber.

Since his brother's diagnosis, the 33-year-old sales manager has been travelling from his Brisbane home to visit Brendan in Sydney, first at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick and now in palliative care at Port Kembla.

"With all the stress at the moment, I'm having a beer more than I should," he admits.

"Mentally, it's probably good to be staying away from it for a bit."

Biber is one of the 22,000 Australians who have already signed up to Dry July this year.

Since its start in July 2008 the annual alcohol-free month has raised $30 million for 45 cancer charities operating across the country.

The idea for the fundraiser came a year earlier, when Dry July CEO Brett MacDonald and a few friends decided to challenge themselves to see who could last the longest without having a drink

"That challenge started on the first of July, so it quickly became known as our 'Dry July'," he says.

Over the challenge, the group quickly realised there was "never not an excuse to have a drink".

"It was a really eye-opening experience, recognising the amount of peer pressure out there," he recalls.

But the purpose of the challenge shifted when MacDonald's aunt was diagnosed with cancer.

"I was hearing first-hand about her cancer journey and lack of certain facilities," he says. "So, we really combined the two and thought, 'What if, instead of our friends buying us drinks and them going warm on the table, we got them to make a donation to a cancer organisation?'"

Biber is taking a month off alcohol to raise money for the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation. He hopes to raise $7,000 for the hospital, whose staff he says were "nothing short of amazing" during Brendan's treatment.

It will be his third Dry July, having first became involved in 2016 after his father's death.

As for tips for those undertaking the challenge this year, Biber says he uses the month as an opportunity to be healthy and workout more.

"If you're gonna give something up, you’ve gotta take something else on."

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