Dry July participant overwhelmed with donations

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 09:16 28/07/2014
Ashley Nally
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
OVERWHELMING SUPPORT: Marlborough woman Ashley Nally has raised about $1300 for the Christchurch Hospital by staying sober for Dry July.

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A young Marlborough participant in Dry July has succeeded in going a month without alcohol in honour of her late mother.

Ashley Nally, 20, began the month with a goal to raise $500 for Christchurch Hospital, who looked after her mother Natalie Souness before her unexpected death about two months ago.

With only three days to go, Nally has well and truly reached her target, with $1300 in donations.

"I'm real stoked eh, I was like ‘oh far out', people are really supporting me," she said.

To top off her month of sobriety, on Sunday morning Nally took part in a duathlon consisting of a 2.3-kilometre run and a 15km bike ride.

Staying sober for a month was not as hard as she initially thought it would be, she said.

"I truly thought I would [find it hard], that's for sure. The hardest part is Saturday nights and everyone else is drinking and getting all these Snapchats from people drinking and I'm like ‘Oh, I'll just keep reading my book'," Nally said.

Friends had been going to her house to drink on weekends to keep her company, but Nally had been sticking to water, she said.

When July was over, Nally said she would drink again, but not to excess.

Souness, who had two children, died unexpectedly after being treated and cleared of cancer at Christchurch Hospital.

X-rays failed to pick up a fatal tumour in her chest.

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.

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

Nally wanted to help the hospital and also raise awareness about cancer. She heard about fundraising through Dry July on Facebook and had generated most of her sponsorship from the social media site.

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 more than $15 million.

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- The Marlborough Express

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