SHE’S raised thousands in aid of the sister she lost to brain cancer – and now Amy Butler is about to go one step further with a new challenge.
The 23-year-old from Waterlooville has climbed mountains in memory of her sister Christie who died aged 19 from a brain tumour in 2010.
In two years, Amy and her friends have raised £16,000 for charity in the hope that a cure for the disease can be found, so no other family has to go through what hers has.
Amy, a sales assistant from Broadmeadow Lane, will be joined by 20 friends for the relay on Southsea seafront on May 6.
She said: ‘Everyone has different ways of coping and it would be easy to lay in bed and not get up but I felt I needed to push myself for Christie. I thought, “I need to do something, I need to do more”.
‘Cancer had never touched our family before. I felt it was just something that happened to other people but I want to get the message out that it can happen to anyone because it happened to Christie. And the way we are coping is by doing something positive.’
Christie was at South Downs College studying theatrical make-up when she began to have what she thought were anxiety attacks and would suddenly feel very strange.
It got so bad she had to leave and it turned out that she was actually having seizures because of the cancer.
It was 18 months between Christie’s diagnosis and her death – and Amy’s tight knit friends and family, including mum Helen and dad Steve, pulled together and put their energy into making a difference to other people’s lives.
They chose to support the the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust, set up in memory of a 16-year-old who died from the disease.
Fundraising began when a group of Amy’s family and friends climbed Ben Nevis in September 2010 and raised £7,000.
That was followed by sponsored runs across the UK by Amy and her friends, gig night nights and even cake sales.
They have already raised almost £700 for the relay but want to raise £1,000 for the Trust.
Amy said: ‘Christie had such a pure and kind heart, she was almost angelic. Even when she was really poorly she did not come across as scared because she didn’t want her friends and family to worry.
She was selfless and very quirky her whole life. She was obsessed with shoes and jewellery.
‘I think it took her a while to process what was happening and the only time I saw her cry was when she realised the treatment meant she would never be able to have children.
‘She never thought “why me?”. She always said “one out of three people get cancer and I would rather it was me than you or mum”.’
Brain cancer is biggest cancer killer of young
CHRISTIE Butler, a former Horndean Technology College pupil, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme grade four, the most aggressive type of brain cancer.
She was 18 when she was diagnosed and underwent brain surgery to remove the tumour which was bigger than a fist. She passed away in July 2010.
Sister Amy said: ‘We feel that more people need to be aware. Out of one in three people who get cancer, one in five of those will develop brain cancer.
‘Brain cancer is the biggest cancer killer of people under 40 and of the 200 types of cancer around half are brain cancers. The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust is the biggest contributor towards research.’
To sponsor Amy go to justgiving.com/relayrun