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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
'I think about my sister when I run'
Camilla James
Camilla misses her sister
Every year Camilla James takes part in a run fun to raise money for the charity Cancer Research UK.

She is motivated to take part by the memory of her sister Bec, who died at the age of just 33 from aggressive breast cancer.

"This is my fifth Race for Life in Battersea Park. I started in 2002 when my younger sister Bec was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I thought at the time it would be a good way of raising money for cancer research.

"At that point I did not realise quite the severity of her level of illness, and unfortunately she died at the end of May 2003, having put up a tremendous battle.

"But unfortunately, because she was so young and fit and healthy, the cancer spread more quickly through her body than if she had been older and more infirm - which sounds a bit ridiculous.

"She thought of everybody else before herself, she was always very positive, upbeat, cheeky, just a very loving person.

Bec James
Bec died of breast cancer

"From my perspective she was my life, she was my world, and I carry on for her really.

"Over the years I have built up Team Bec's Babes, and have a core team of friends who take part.

"We wear t-shirts with a Bec's Babes unique logo, and I felt very much that the yellow reflected her true personality.

"My sister had amazing strawberry blond hair and she was a radiant, luminous, enthusiastic person who was full of life.

"We wear those t-shirts with immense pride I have to say.

"I feel that I am giving something back. I am raising money for further developments into cancer research, so that families like mine do not have to go through what my family went through.

Sense of connection

"Whilst you don't know these people, you do in a funny kind of way because you have got that commonality between you of having been affected by cancer.

"Whilst I am actually running I am thinking about Bec.

"I know that she would be laughing at me, the way I am running, what I am wearing, the fact that I am trying to keep Mum going.

"Mum and I cross the line hand in hand, and we have done it for Bec who is up there, looking down on us. Sadly another year has gone by and Bec is not around.

Camilla and her mother
Camilla and her mother cross the line together

"To toast Bec at the end of the event very much feels like my acknowledgement to her that from my perspective she has very much been a part of that event. It is very comforting.

"When you lose somebody that close, your grief is so overwhelming that you don't think that anybody else in the whole wide world could possibly go through what you are thinking.

"You also believe that you will never come out of it. But you do come out of it, you just come out of it a very, very different person.

"My life is at a very different level now. My life is happy, but it's not nearly as happy as it was when Bec was here.

"I see my life very much as pizza or a pie, and there's been a large slice taken out of it, that will never be replaced.

"I think Bec knew towards the end that she wasn't going to survive, but she wasn't physically able to express it, because she was so exhausted and drained.

"But we knew the fight that she put up against the cancer, the way she endured the treatment, we had to take some of that spirit with us, to get ourselves through the rest of our lives, and that's what we're doing."

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