TAKING part in the Race for Life was an emotional event for many families whose lives have been touched by cancer.
Yesterday’s event in Southsea saw around 6,000 people run 5k or 10k to raise more than £580,000 for Cancer Research UK.
For one family, the event was especially poignant as they were still grieving the loss of popular and loving mum-of-three Kate Whitmore-Jones, who died from breast cancer on June 1 aged 45.
Kate’s 12-year-old daughter Isabella wanted to run the 5k race in memory of her mum and a group of 30 of Kate’s friends and family joined her.
Kate’s husband Robin, from Bursledon, was there to cheer them on, along with her other two children Xavier, 15, and Sammuel, seven.
Robin, 53, said: ‘There has been fantastic support.’
Kate’s twin sister Charlotte Whitmore, who is originally from Shedfield, was also taking part.
Charlotte, 45, said: ‘Kate was a warm, loving friend, mother and sister.
‘She was so well-loved by everyone she met which goes to show by the amount of support here.’
Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer in June last year, which she beat, but then received the devastating news that it had returned this April.
A massive outpouring of support from the community saw friends and family rally round to help her keep running her cake baking business Krazie Cakes until her death. Various fundraisers have been held at her children’s schools since and the family are determined to raise as much as they can for cancer research.
Charlotte said: ‘Kate would have been chuffed to see everyone taking part.’
Also running in memory of a lost loved one was the family of Charlie Codling, who died from a brain tumour on September 6, 2012, two days before his fifth birthday.
Charlie’s mum Karen Codling, from Hill Head, said: ‘It puts your faith back in humanity, to see that everyone is so caring. It reminds you of the journey that you have been on with your friends and family. You forget what they have been through, too.
‘People are so brave, it makes you realise people’s journeys and the fact that there’s so many people on them.’
Following Charlie’s death, Karen, 42, and her husband Steve, 43, set up a charity raising money to send families of children with life-limiting illnesses on respite breaks to Cornwall.
For more about the charity go to charliecodling.co.uk
Around 2,000 women took part in the 10k Race for Life yesterday morning, which set off from Southsea Common.
A further 4,000 women ran, walked and jogged the 5k race, which started at 11.30am.
Southsea Common was a sea of pink, with plenty of feather boas, tutus and fairy wings thrown into the mix, all in aid of charity Cancer Research UK.
At the front of the 10k race at the starting line was seven-year-old Izabelle Cassap, from Havant, with her mother Hannah Cassap, 34.
It was the fifth time the mother and daughter had taken part and the first time they had attempted the 10k, inspired by the death of Hannah’s grandfather George New 29 years ago.
Izabelle was only two when they started taking part in the Race For Life 5k and the event has become an annual tribute to George, who was 65 when he died from prostate cancer.
Izabelle, a pupil at Fairfield School in Havant, said: ‘I’m doing it to raise money for all the poorly people.’
The kindhearted girl won the runner-up prize for her fundraising in The News’ Youth Awards earlier this year after she raised more than £1,500 through her sponsorship and bucket collection.
Hannah, who works in a radiotherapy ward, said the event helped her to come to terms with the death of her grandfather as well as giving her a sense of helping the people she sees at work.
She said: ‘I used to sit with all the cancer patients and it was very emotional so I thought “why not get up and do something to help?”’
The pair crossed the finish line in a great time of 1hr 6min.
Taking part in the 5k race was inspirational teenager Natalie Turner, who has bone cancer. She was determined to complete the course – despite having part of her leg amputated just nine weeks ago.
As revealed in The News last week, Natalie, 18, had been told that if she didn’t have her right leg amputated below the knee, she could die before she reached 25.
Spurred on by friends and family, including proud mum Denise, Natalie, from Southsea, crossed the finish line.
Natalie said: ‘I hope I can be an inspiration to other young people. I want to show them that there is so much you can do.’
Natalie, a hairdresser, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in November last year.
She said: ‘I am very excited and very emotional. I want to thank my family and friends and everyone who has supported me.’
Also taking part were groups of staff from Tesco supermarkets across the area and a team from Everetts pharmacy in Locks Heath.
Sue Adams, team leader at the pharmacy, designed a ’50s-style outfit for the women to wear.
Sue, 54, said: ‘We’ve done this race for the last five years. As we work in a chemist we often have people come in who we get to know who are suffering from cancer.
‘Everyone here knows someone who has been affected by cancer. Hopefully the money raised this year will see us pass our £10,000 target.’
There were jubilant scenes as all the women crossed the finish line on the Common, cheered on by Pompey compere ‘Touchline’ Tony Male.
He said: ‘It gets bigger and more emotional every year, and it is humbling to think that everyone here has been touched by cancer.’
Chris Woods, area events manager for Cancer Research UK, said: ‘We had over 6,000 women taking part to show cancer who is boss and raised nearly £580,000 for Cancer Research UK and we had an amazing day at the same time.
‘It’s really humbling to see so many women taking part.’