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Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, covering prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This month it is encouraging us to join in its Dryathlon event

After you’ve finished singing, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and toasting in the New Year, chances are you’ll be ready to take a break from the excesses of the season. If you are thinking about banishing the booze for a few weeks, why not combine this with an opportunity to raise cash for a charity that is helping to save lives from cancer?

Cancer Research UK is celebrating January with a month-long initiative that encourages people to quit drinking alcohol, as part of a fund-raising drive. Last year, Emma was inspired to get involved in its Dryathlon, and switched to non-alcoholic drinks to help the charity.

Emma was diagnosed with cancer when she was just five. When her mum realised that her stomach was swollen, even though she wasn’t eating anything, she had tests and it was discovered that she had a tumour on her right kidney.

Emma had chemotherapy, then surgery to remove her kidney, followed by more chemotherapy and finally radiotherapy to mop up any stray cancer cells. “I don’t really remember much about my cancer treatment, but I do remember being given blood transfusions, which we called ‘my lively juice’ because they gave me so much energy!”

Apart from a few minor health problems, Emma is now fine and is studying fashion at the Arts University Bournemouth. When she heard about Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon, she told her best friend Ella about it. At first it seemed a tough challenge, especially being students surrounded by people drinking! But over Christmas they decided to give it a go. “It was hard but we still went out and had a good time with our friends.”

All of their friends were supportive, and Emma and Ella raised £500 – an achievement they were particularly proud of since most of their sponsors were hard-up students.

Taking on the challenge could have lots of potential perks. Just imagine what you could achieve in an iron-willed month without hangovers. Along with raising cash for Cancer Research UK, the charity believes there are plenty of benefits to banishing the booze. You will:

• Feel more energetic

• Sleep better and even snore less

• Cut the calories and lose weight

• Eat more healthily and increase your activity levels

• Boost your bank balance

• Feel a sense of achievement

• Adopt a fresh approach to alcohol consumption

• Have time to do the things you keep putting off. Use the time to take a yoga class or write a novel

Last but not least, every pound you raise will go towards Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research.

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