FOR Christine Mitchell, walking across the finish line of this year’s Race for Life was an emotional and poignant moment.
The 52-year-old has been given just months to live after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last year.
And as she stepped out of her wheelchair to walk across the finish line in Southsea Common she was greeted with a huge round of applause from the crowd.
Yesterday, family and friends, including two of her daughters and her grandaughter, rallied round her to walk the 5k route around Southsea in her honour.
That included her friend of 23 years, Kathy Haywood, 51, who flew in from Pennsylvania in America to support Christine by taking part.
Christine, of St Faiths Road in Landport, Portsmouth, said she felt extremely emotional at the response she received when she stood up and walked at the end.
‘I can’t explain the experience and the feeling inside,’ she said.
‘It’s just amazing. I can’t put it into words. It makes you want to fight more.
‘It was just a feeling of joy thinking “look at all these people supporting me”. I was crying.
‘In one aspect it felt embarrassing to get all this attention. But it was a great group of people here to fight against cancer.’
Christine was diagnosed with cancer in December last year after she saw the doctor complaining of back problems. In February, she was told she has only a year to live.
She said: ‘This was a complete shock to me. I had had full physical tests and smear tests.
‘The first couple of months it was depressing. I couldn’t work and I have always worked.
‘Then I had to have a positive attitude and find a reason to fight to live. You have to have a positive frame of mind.
‘At first it was like a black cloud over me. It took a while to shift. It was just hanging over me and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
‘But I have a great Macmillan nurse. And these are statistics and sometimes they can be beaten.’
Christine is currently undergoing chemotherapy but she didn’t want to let that stop her taking part in the Race for Life.
‘It’s wonderful,’ Christine added. ‘It’s very empowering to have women and children together for one cause – to find a cure for cancer.’
Christine was one of around 7,000 women to take to the streets of Southsea yesterday in a bid to help raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK.
Some took on the longer and more challenging 10k route, while others chose to take part in the 5k route.
Organisers say that around £500,000 has been raised for the charity from this year’s event.