11:30am Thursday 28th March 2013
By Craig Manning
A WOMAN who lost her oldest and dearest friend to cancer will pay a special tribute to her when she takes part in this year's Wirral Race for Life.
Gill Curwen and Chris Cullen had been the best of friends for 45 years - after meeting at school aged just five.
But Chris was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and underwent a mastectomy. The surgery was followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
After winning her battle against the disease, Chris sadly fell ill again early in 2006. Following tests she was diagnosed as having tumours on her lung and behind her eyes.
Chris celebrated her 50th birthday in December 2006. But she became increasingly unwell and in May 2007 lost her battle against the disease - leaving behind husband Brian and daughters Caroline and Rebecca.
In tribute to Chris' courage and determination to beat the disease and the care she received Gill will be among the hundreds taking part in the Race For Life in Birkenhead Park on Sunday, July 21.
The 56-year-old library manager from Bebington wants every woman in the Wirral to make a stand against the disease by joining her.
The mum-of-two said: "When Chris was first diagnosed with cancer it came as a real shock to us all.
"Chris fought a long, hard battle against cancer, but she was so brave and she never gave up.
"She really was a very dear friend to me and I miss her very much."
Gill takes part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life every year, completing the event with Chris’s two daughters, her own daughter Robyn, 32 and her sister Wendy.
She continued: "I absolutely love taking part in Cancer Research UK's Race for Life. It’s a wonderful event and a lovely way to pay tribute to Chris.
"It's very emotional and inspiring, particularly when you run round and read the signs on the backs of other people."
Last year, 3,911 women took part in Race for Life in the Wirral. This year, organisers need 4,000 women and girls to stride out to help raise £175,000 for vital research.
Laura Taylor, Cancer Research UK’s Wirral events manager, said: "Race for Life is an amazing way to celebrate life but also remember those who have been lost to the disease. Participants may be decked out in pink or fancy dress but what’s inescapable is the power and strength that comes from thousands of women joining together to confront cancer.
"Don't be fooled by the tutus and tiaras - Race for Life is cancer’s worst nightmare."
To enter Race for Life go to www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.
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