WHEN Christina Moss’s friend Paul Thompson died of a heart attack last summer aged just 38, the “unfit” mum-of-one decided to drastically change her lifestyle.
Less than a year later she is about to become one of the hundreds of women who will be taking part in the Pink Ribbonwalk.
Mrs Moss, 35, an office administrator at X-Press Legal Services in Witney, said: “I was so shocked that such a young and fit man could die so suddenly. Paul had been a friend since we were about 12 and was a dad. It was so sad.”
Mr Thompson, from Aston, collapsed and died during pre-season training with Witney Royals Football Club at Burwell Meadow in July. An inquest into his death in October revealed an extremely rare form of heart failure.
Mrs Moss said: “It wasn’t long before Paul’s death really made me start looking at my own lifestyle. I was suddenly much more aware of my age, that I smoke and I haven’t done any consistent exercise since I left school.
“So I joined a health club and started swimming in September. I also cut down my 10-a-day smoking habit.
“Then, after the indulgence of Christmas, I put on some weight and was feeling like I wasn’t doing enough to improve my health, so I decided I needed some sort of challenge.
“That’s when I received an email from Breast Cancer Care telling me all about the Pink Ribbonwalk at Blenheim, and my sister Liz Marmont and I signed up straight away.”
The Pink Ribbonwalk raises funds for the charity Breast Cancer Care, which provides free information, support and services to anyone affected by breast cancer.
This year’s walk takes place on Saturday, May 11, and will follow a 10- or 20-mile route through Blenheim and its surrounding villages.
Mrs Moss said: “Breast cancer first affected me when my grandmother died when I was 14. By that time the cancer had spread throughout her body.
“Then a close friend, Sally Gilchrist, of Dorset, found out she had breast cancer when she was 34 and pregnant with her second child. Her fight was short – only 22 months – but she fought hard.
“She was raising her babies and having chemotherapy with a smile on her face. She was inspirational. “I miss her a lot and I think she would be really pleased that I’ve decided to do the Pink Ribbonwalk. She is my first thought if I struggle to motivate myself to get to my new gym routine. “ Mrs Moss will be supported from the sidelines by her husband Karl, 38, and their eight-year-old daughter Natasha.
She said: “I expect the highlight of the walk will be the finish line. And I imagine the most difficult part will be seeing other people emotional.
“I want to raise at least the minimum amount of £175, and I’m hoping anyone I know who sees this article will go to my sponsorship page – www.justgiving.com/ Christina-Moss – and sponsor me.”