Fasting for 19 days raise money for victims of the earthquake in Nepal

Following this year’s annual Happy List, The Independent on Sunday continues to celebrate those unsung heroes who make Britain a happier – and kinder – place to live.

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George Bartlett is a 21-year-old student at Bournemouth University, who took up the challenge of a  19-day fast to raise money for people affected by the earthquake that struck Nepal in April.

At the age of 15, George had volunteered at a school in Nepal, so when he heard about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that badly damaged major cities including the capital Kathmandu, he was determined to help. “I wanted to raise as much money as possible to aid the relief effort out there which is so painfully needed by the Nepalese people,” he said. “I decided on the fast because many people found it drastic and rather controversial – especially my family.”

The student, who is studying advertising, took to social media with the hashtag #NoFoodForGeorge, which attracted huge support online. His initial £500 target was soon passed, and he eventually raised more than £4,000.

But giving up food was not easy. Before starting the fast, George consulted a military doctor who told him it was doable but would not be pleasant. “It’s not something people should take lightly,” said George, “and I’d recommend consulting a doctor first. I did lots of research before deciding to do it.”

He drank an electrolyte solution to help with hydration, and had tea and coffee. “Although the caffeine won’t have helped, the milk and sugar certainly did. That was the only thing giving me calories which were pretty important.”

After 19 days George had lost a stone and a half, his weight loss was most noticeable in his face and he lost a lot of muscle mass.

“My stomach was the size of a small quail’s egg, so annoyingly I couldn’t go straight back to eating everything in sight. Chewing was the oddest sensation – I could feel every beautiful mouthful slipping down to my belly!”

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