A sober October

Did you know that in October, 80 young Australians will die through preventable causes – including suicide, road deaths and drug overdose?

Australia’s largest non-government provider of health education to children in Australia, Life Education is urging more adults to sign-up to its annual fundraising campaign – Ocsober – and help teach kids about making healthy life choices.

For the past 38 years, Life Education has been visiting schools with its 100 plus Mobile Learning Centres, qualified educators and iconic giraffe, Healthy Harold. To date six million Australians have been through Life Education’s preventative health education programs.

“By taking part in our national fundraising initiative, Ocsober, you will be helping us to empower more children and teenagers to make better choices about their health and wellbeing,” said Life Education Australia CEO David Ballhausen.

Organisers are hoping to raise $500, 000 in this year’s campaign with every dollar raised going back into Life Education and enabling them to deliver health, drug and alcohol education programs in more schools across Australia.

The charity has enlisted the muscle of some of the country’s best athletes, as well as personalities and health experts – including Nutritionist, Stephanie Lowe.

“It’s so important for your health to take a break from alcohol and I am very proud to be a part of helping to raise money for Life Education in Australia. I remember Harold fondly, and especially the education around the dangers of alcohol and drug misuse. These are such important messages and a conversation that needs to be had with all primary school aged children,” says Stephanie Lowe, Nutritionist and Ocsober Ambassador.

Australian Rugby Sevens Olympic gold medallist Sharni Williams, Australian Sprint Hurdler Michelle Jenneke and Olympic Sailing Champion Tom Burton are among the National Ambassadors involved in this year’s campaign.

Other Ambassadors include: trauma specialist Associate Professor Martin Wullschleger, Vice Chief of the Defence Force Ray Griggs, Chef and Health Expert Zoe Bingley-Pullin, Brisbane Bullets basketballer Reuben Te Rangi, SBS Pop Asia presenter Andy Trieu, X-Factor Finalist Amalia Foy, and fitness duo, the Urban Warriors – Shelley Gorman and Kylie Jackes.

There is still time to register, which you can do as an individual or as part of a team – by visiting the Ocsober website. Registrations will remain open through the month of October.

Some sobering statistics about drinking 

  • 75% of Australians believe Australia has a problem with excessive drinking (Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 2013)
  • 1% of 16-17 year old drinkers say they intend to get drunk most times/every time they drank alcohol (2011 Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug (ASSAD) Survey)
  • There were 5,554 deaths attributable to alcohol in 2010. (Alcohol’s Burden of Disease in Australia report, FARE 2014)
  • There were 157,132 hospitalisations attributable to alcohol in 2010.(Alcohol’s Burden of Disease in Australia report, FARE 2014)
  • Teenagers who start drinking before age 18 are more likely to become dependent on alcohol (Drug Info Clearing House)

“In my job in the hospital, I experience far too often bad consequences and outcomes; therefore, get involved in Ocsober to support Life Education and our next generation,” says Associate Professor Martin Wullschleger, Director of Trauma Services at the Gold Coast University Hospital and an Ocsober Ambassador

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