Why this Illawarra nurse is giving up coffee

Clinical nurse consultant Miriam Nonu has given up alcohol - and coffee - for Dry July. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Clinical nurse consultant Miriam Nonu has given up alcohol - and coffee - for Dry July. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Having nursed for more than 30 years, it was a shock for Miriam Nonu to be on the receiving end of treatment.

After the mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer last August, she had to put her life in the hands of her colleagues at the Illawarra Cancer Care Centre at Wollongong Hospital.

Now free from disease, the clinical nurse consultant has decided to give back by joining the centre's team in the Dry July challenge.

"Routine screening last August revealed a lump in my breast - I hadn't even noticed it," Ms Nonu said.

"I had surgery in October and then underwent radiotherapy for six weeks. It was scary being vulnerable, to receive treatment rather than to give it.

"But the specialists and the staff at the cancer care centre were wonderful and helped me through it and so I wanted to give back and support their fund-raising campaign."

The centre is one of 40 beneficiaries from throughout Australia and New Zealand in this year's Dry July campaign, and funds will go towards vital equipment and support services.

So far, more than 380 participants have helped to raise more than $50,000 for the cancer care centre. The team spirit has helped Ms Nonu give up not only alcohol, but also coffee.

"I'm not a heavy drinker so I also gave up something that I do enjoy - my daily cups of coffee," she said.

"I suffered some headaches at first but now I'm feeling good and I'm using Dry July to kick-start health and well-being."

It's the fourth year the centre's staff and supporters have taken part in the campaign, and more than $250,000 has been raised in that time.

Organisers hope to reach a total of $100,000 this year so the last few days of campaigning are vital. To donate to the team, go to dryjuly.com/team/illawarra cancercarecentre.

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