The CEO of Kingston’s Student Union is joining 35,000 other Britons in an attempt to give up alcohol for a month to raise money for charity.
KUSU’s Mark Horne, who lost his Father to cancer, is participating in the nation’s first Dryathlon, a new fundraising campaign that challenges social drinkers to give up alcohol, for January, to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
“I’d like to raise money for a charity that means something to our family,” he said. “I suspect there’s also a part of me that wanted to see if I can manage socially without alcohol for a month.”
Mr Horne’s Dad was diagnosed on January 22 2011 of a widespread cancer that affected his skin, throat, lungs and bowels and died weeks later on February 9.
“It was horrible,” Mr Horne said. “He had been such a vital, young at heart man right up until Christmas and then it was like watching him disintegrate in front of us.”
Mr Horne is keen to use the dryathlon to raise money for his dad and an ex-colleague at KUSU who was also a victim of cancer.
Mr Horne who also DJs for Oceana’s Disco room every Wednesday is surrounded by alcohol every week and has only managed to avoid the temptation of alcohol once in eight years of working at the club.
With five Wednesdays in January the challenge to not drink is proving difficult for the man who describes himself as a “social drinker” and “cocktail fiend”.
“It really has been a challenge,” he said. “And I have a whole new world of admiration and respect for bar staff now, staying sober all the time at work.”
Giving up alcohol for one month will not have any lasting effect on health but cutting down long term can reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases caused by drinking.
Cancer Research UK recommend that people stay within the government guidelines and drink no more than around two average drinks a day for men, or one average drink for women.
Mr Horne said: “If anyone really wants to know why they should not smoke or not check for other cancers then they just need to watch someone they love literally collapse in front of them and have no power to do anything about it.”
Mr Horne has currently raised £185 for Cancer Research UK, almost double his target of £100, and there is still two weeks to go.
To make a donation or to find out more visit: www.dryathlon.org.uk