Guest Blog: Emily Butler – 6 Months Alcohol Free for the Nkoaranga Children

As you heard about on Facebook, the incredible Emily Butler has been undertaking a lengthy fundraising project for us – six months, in fact! Returning from her third time volunteering at Nkoaranga Orphanage in September, she decided to really go the extra mile (or month!) in raising money for the children she cares about so much in a very inventive way – she decided to give up alcohol for six months, with all donations going towards us!

When Hope became ill, she decided to dedicate the money raised towards her care, with any extra money raised going to the care and support of any future children who need it.  She is so close now to completing her goal and half a year of dedicated fundraising has really paid off – she has raised £471!  With just 10 days to go, please consider donating to this very worthy cause and support Emily in supporting Hope.

Emily Butler with baby Hope in the summer of 2013
question that I keep being asked by everyone is, ‘Why alcohol?’ So
here’s my answer:
I just want to start by saying that I am not addicted to alcohol. I’m a
student, and drinking alcohol kind of comes with the title. Before I did this
fundraiser, I was about to go into my final year of university so I knew I
needed to focus. I spent my summer in Nkoaranga, introducing my family to those
beautiful children and having the most amazing time. When I came home I felt,
as I always do when I come back from NK, a little lost. Being in Nkoaranga can
be like stepping into another world. Everything is so different and yet you
feel right at home. The children mean so much to me and I couldn’t bear having
to say goodbye to them yet again. So, when I came back to England, I
decided I wanted to raise some money for them, as a way of
me helping them from all the way over here
sort of connection.

The amazing children of Nkoaranga Orphanagethe motivation for Emily to give up alcohol for 6 months

So, as I said, student = alcohol, final year = need to focus! And what
better way to raise money for those beautiful children and to stop myself from
procrastinating in the pub than to give up alcohol
The second question I keep being asked is, ‘Why 6 months?’
The simple answer is that 1 month didn’t feel like enough of a challenge
and a year just seemed crazy! So I went for the middle ground. I knew that by
giving up alcohol for 6 months, I would be taking part in final year freshers,
Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and end of exams all
completely soberly. And boy, what a challenge it has been.
Christmas was my biggest worry. I don’t know about you, but our
Christmas tends to be surrounded by the consumption of various types of
alcohol: Mulled wine, gin and tonic, bailey’s, a nice bit of cheeky cava. I
knew that the Christmas festivities were going to be my biggest obstacle and
there were times, in particular when I was pouring out a glass of Baileys for
my Grandma, when all I wanted to do was sneak into the kitchen and start
swigging from the bottle. Pathetic or what? But, I stood strong. I even had to
be careful about food; it’s amazing the amount of Christmas food that’s filled
with alcohol. The amount of chocolate truffles I had to turn down because they
were filled with rum. And that really is my idea of heaven: chocolate plus
alcohol. Don’t get me wrong though, I still had an incredible Christmas. I was
able to explore a range of soft drinks: Shloer, cloudy lemonade, lime and soda
water. And all without the hangover! I did feel rather smug whilst my family
moaned about their ‘slight’ hangovers on Boxing Day and I was sat there fresh
as a daisy. Then it hit the evening and they cracked open the alcohol, again. I
didn’t feel quite so high and mighty at that point.
Emily reading a story to some very eager children!

Needless to say, Christmas was a bit of a struggle. But this has been
nowhere near as hard as I thought it would. I think I’ve just kind of gotten
used to it now. Though, having said that, there really are times, in particular
that past few frustratingly hard weeks of dissertation writing at university,
when I’ve just wanted to be able to sink into the sofa with a nice glass of
white wine and a good book. I have to say, that is something that I am really looking
forward to. No matter how tempted I have been though, I haven’t touched a drop.
I just think of the wonderful children and Mamas that I am raising this money
for and the temptation for a nice cold cider is gone.
I have decided to donate the money I raise towards the hospital fees for
Baby Hope. She has just come out of hospital, which I am so pleased to hear
about, but is still under investigation, so the money you wonderful people have
donated is going towards finding out what is making her so ill in the first
place, and supporting her in keeping strong and gaining weight. Baby Hope has
been through so much in her short life so far. She has had health problems from
the start due to her being so premature. We were so pleased to see her
improving and gaining weight, so it really came as a shock when she went into
hospital at the end of 2013. But, that little girl is a fighter and is getting stronger
every day. The Mamas have been incredible, as they always are, and Hope will be
getting extra special care from Mama Fanuelli now that she is back home.
Mama Fanuelli taking excellent care of Hope
I want to say a special thank you to all of the wonderful people who
have sponsored me in my 6 months  alcohol free fundraiser. You are
incredible and your constant support and generosity warms my heart. 
Thank you so much for anything you can give! There is just one week to go; I can practically taste that glass of white wine waiting for me!”

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