Woman takes Dry July challenge

02:32, Jun 25 2014
Ashley Nally
RAISING MONEY AND AWARENESS: Ashley Nally holds a collection of pictures of her mother Natalie Souness, who died of a rare cancer this month. Nally is taking part in Dry July to raise money for Christchurch Hospital.

A Blenheim woman whose mother recently died of cancer is going teetotal for a month, in a bid to raise money for Christchurch Hospital.

Ashley Nally, 20, said she hoped to raise at least $500 by doing a "Dry July."

The Dry July movement was set up in 2008 by a group of people who had lost loved ones to cancer, and has since raised over $15 million.

Nally expected it would be "quite challenging" but said her friends were very supportive.

She decided to take part after her mother Natalie Souness, a Marlborough resident and mother-of-two, died three weeks ago of a rare form of thyroid cancer.

Souness' death was unexpected, Nally said. She had been treated in Christchurch Hospital and had been cleared of cancer, but X-rays had not picked up a fatal tumour in her chest.

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Souness was the only person to suffer from sclerosing mucoepidermoid carcinoma with eosinophilia (SMCE) in New Zealand, and there are believed to be fewer than 20 sufferers worldwide.

The condition mainly affects women who suffer from thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism, which Souness had since her teens.

Nally wanted to help the hospital and also raise awareness about cancer.

"I thought, far out, I don't have much money myself, but I'm going to try and raise some money," she said.

Christchurch Hospital had let Souness' family celebrate her birthday in the hospital in a specially set-up room, and staff had generally been "really, really lovely", Nally said.

Nally heard about fundraising through Dry July on Facebook, and so far she has raised nearly $100.

People who want to join or sponsor someone else can do so online at the Dry July website.

The Marlborough Express