As Christina Corp lay fighting for her life in a coma with a catalogue of life-changing injuries her parents were told four times their 17-year-old daughter would die.
They were told that even if she somehow overcame a fractured skull, severe brain and facial injuries and shattered pelvis, the keen horse rider would never walk or talk let alone compete in her beloved dressage events again.
But 17 years later Christina is lacing up her trainers and pounding the pavements near her home – preparing to take part in this weekend’s Race for Life in Portsmouth – on a mission to bring hope to those who are suffering.
She will join the pink army on Southsea Common to take part in the 5k and 10k races this Sunday and officially start the poignant race which she will then complete with ‘Team Christina.’
Friends say its just another notch on the list of amazing things she has achieved in her new life. Just last year she married Joe, who she met through a dating group called Stars In The Sky which brings people with learning disabilities together.
Now he’s the rock who is supporting her all the way as she turns her focus to helping raise vital funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.
Christina is determined to live life as independently as she can, supported by personal assistants who she has chosen and pays to help her with day to day tasks, in the Stubbington bungalow she shares with Joe.
Her brain injury has left her suffering from epilepsy and affects her memory as well as taste and smell. She is partially blind and also has part paralysis of her face.
Yet she’s determined to overcome whatever problems arise.
‘I’m not doing too bad for a girl they said was going to die’ said Christina. ‘That’s why I am doing Race for Life – because I want to show other people who are suffering or who are facing the worst news or illness that there is hope and you can come through if you have the belief and you are determined.’
‘It’s such a good cause because so many people are affected by cancer and I want to do what I can to help them.
‘My memory isn’t amazing and that’s the result of the accident. I wake up most mornings and don’t know what day it is.
‘This will be the eighth Race for Life that I have taken part in. I’ve got my medals to show that I have done them and I know I have done them before, but I don’t remember any of the detail – I cannot visualise what happened, what it was like to take part.’
Christina has had plenty of training. As well as regularly attending Fareham Leisure Centre she is also a familiar face at Park Run in Lee on Solent most Saturday mornings.
She said: ‘My mum and dad were told four times that I was going to die and if I lived I would never walk or talk again or live any sort of normal life.
‘But now I don’t stop talking. I go to the gym, I do 5ks and take part in Park Run and I’ve met and married the love of my life – how lucky am I?’
*There’s still time to sign up to Race for Life in Portsmouth this weekend.
Registration for Pretty Muddy (adults) and the all new Pretty Muddy kids event closes on Thursday evening.
The deadline to register for the annual 5k and 10k races is Friday evening.
Visit raceforlife.org to sign up