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Annual 28-day alcohol-free February challenge gets extra day due to leap year

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Many Quebecers are trying to start the new year with a focus on health by giving up alcohol for a month in a trend known as "Dry January" but a local foundation is presenting an additional challenge.

The Fondation Jean Lapointe is launching its 11th edition of the 28 days sober challenge for the entire month of February, which this year being a leap year gets an extra day.

The annual awareness and fundraising campaign that encourages people to not drink in order to realize the physical and mental health benefits, as well as to raise awareness to addiction-related problems.

People can register to take part with a $28 registration fee. The goal of this year's event is to raise $1 million to support addiction prevention and treatment efforts.

The late actor, singer and former senator, Jean Lapointe, helped create the Maison Jean Lapointe, a treatment centre for people with alcohol addiction in 1982 and the foundation was created in his name four years later.

Since 1986, it has become a leader in the fight against drug, alcohol and other addictions affecting Quebecers. Dedicated to helping not only the addicted and the families of residents of the Maison Jean Lapointe but to spread drug and alcohol awareness among teens as they begin consuming these products.

The foundation's president, Jean-Sebastien Chouinard, started the 28-day challenge but has been doing it on his own for 12 years. He says while he never had issues with alcohol he did notice a huge change in his sleep, his energy level and his mood after he started the challenge. He said he also cut down on his drinking the rest of the year as well.

Those who sign up for $28 get a calendar with suggested activities they can do instead of drinking on a Friday night, for example, and form new habits. The first 1,500 participants who register with a minimum donation of $128 will receive a gift box filled with products to enhance their February sobriety challenge.

People can register at defi28jours.com.

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