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Bottles corked as FebFasters jump on the wagon

Wed 1 Feb 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Winter Olympian Blake Skjellerup is out of the starting blocks in his bid to raise $10,000 by taking a break from alcohol. He’s making a sobriety pledge for an entire month as part of FebFast, which will give a quarter of its 2012 proceeds to Rainbow Youth. The gay speed skater is using the fundraiser as a chance to prepare for the World Championships in just over a month, with the philosophy “Sober mind, sober body = super Blake”. He says maintaining fitness is clearly a top priority for a peak performance, "Going without alcohol definitely helps my performance and fitness. Alcohol does not give me the energy I need to perform and train through a hard session,” he says. "It's about having a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. I like to live by the everything-in-moderation motto. I like being able to have a fun night with friends without alcohol, and I enjoy being able to function the day after." Rainbow Youth itself has a team which has already raised $285, more than half of its modest goal of $500. The Auckland-based glbti youth support organisation will use the proceeds it takes in from FebFast to tackle figures showing queer and trans youth are much more likely to drink, drink often and heavily and to have had family or friends tell them to reduce their drinking. Rainbow Youth says it wants to change the way alcohol and drug use is viewed in the community. “The aim is to develop tools and actions to improve the dialogue, recognise behaviours and patterns we have when we engage with alcohol and drugs, help our community make safer choices and have healthier outcomes when we socialise and connect,” says Executive Director Tom Hamilton, who is part of the Rainbow Youth team taking a break from drinking this month.More than $20,000 has already been raised on just the first day of FebFast, which brought in around $100,000 in 2011. The Labour, Green and National Parties also have teams battling it out, and lesbian MP and youth advocate Louisa Wall is taking part with the Labour group. You can find Blake’s page here and Rainbow Youth’s page here, where you can help them reach their goals and support Rainbow Youth!    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 1st February 2012 - 1:00pm

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