At 19, Rachel Tume was drinking too much and getting herself into a lot of trouble.

Born and raised in Whanganui, the teenager's party lifestyle was catching up with her and she knew she needed to make a change.

She left New Zealand, moving to the Central Coast in New South Wales, Australia, where she lived for 12 years before moving home in January 2019.

Tume got her life back on track and now at age 33, she is challenging herself to complete Dry July.


"I wanted to do it because lately I've found myself over-indulging in drinking," Tume says.

"My sister sent me the link, she wanted to help me cut back on alcohol and it's a good cause helping to raise money for people who have been affected by cancer."

Dry July officially launched in New Zealand in 2012, but credit for starting the fundraiser goes to three mates from Australia who coined the term in 2008.

The mates wanted a break from alcohol, so abstained from drinking in July and raised money through sponsorship to buy a TV for their local hospital's waiting room.

Over 8000 Kiwis have signed up for Dry July in 2019 and $473,767 has been raised for Look Good Feel Better, a charity that provides free community-based programmes for anyone with cancer.

Tume said it is a cause that is close to her heart.

"I managed a skin cancer clinic for about six years. I remember seeing patients come out of the doctor's room and I know their results had come through and they had melanoma.

"Cancer affects so many people's lives even if they're not affected by it directly."


Tume is now a support worker at HealthCare NZ and also provides classroom support at YMCA.

Before July, Tume would share a social drink with friends and family up to twice a week with vodka being her drink of choice, especially Long White and KGB.

She has never done Dry July and has not gone a whole month without drinking since she was a teenager.

Tume said it is going to be a big challenge, but she is happy to be taking it on with her sisters Leticia Claxton-Tume and Darleen Poutini-Tume.

"It's going to be a challenge for all of us because we all enjoy a drink, but we can also encourage each other, which we're doing already," Tume says.

"To anyone who's thinking about doing it, challenge yourself. You can do it and you can raise money for a good cause while you're at it."