YOU’LL never walk alone.
That was the poignant message from fundraising family and friends of Liverpool FC season ticket holder Christopher Edwards - who tragically passed away from a rare form of stomach cancer in November, aged just 33.
Dozens of the Greater Manchester Police Detective Constable’s loved ones stepped out for a 16-mile charity walk in his memory on Saturday (June 25) from his home in Newton-le-Willows to his beloved Anfield.
Among the 30-plus fund-raisers was Chris’s widow Jo, who gave birth to the couple’s son, Luca, just 12 weeks after her husband passed away.
Jo, 30, told the Reporter of her pride at the success of the fund-raiser – which is now set to become an annual event – but also her sadness that Chris could not be there to “rally the troops”.
She said: “Chris was diagnosed with a rare form of inoperable stomach cancer in November 2008. The doctors could only try to control it but Chris was so positive and optimistic that his first course of chemotherapy sent him into remission. We enjoyed eight months of him being perfectly happy and healthy before it got out of control again last January.
“He had a second course of chemo and, even though he was ill, he qualified as a CID detective last August.
“We then found out I was pregnant, which we had been told was against all odds, and he fought all the way to try to make sure he saw the baby. Luca is our little miracle. It’s just such a shame that Chris’s body gave up before they got the chance to meet.”
Three months after Chris passed away, a group of his friends pledged to organise a charity walk to help raise funds for the Christie Hospital in Manchester, where he was treated.
And 30 fundraisers set off from Plover Close, Newton-le-Willows, on Saturday morning.
Although many of the walkers were devoted Manchester United, Spurs, Burnley and Everton fans – they were all happy to don Liverpool shirts for the occasion.
More than £5,000 was raised on the day for the charitable fund Jo set up in Chris’s memory, which will help fund research into gastro intestinal cancer.
Once Chris’s fund hits the £15,000 barrier, he will have his name engraved on a special tree at the Christie.
Jo added: “The walk was brilliant - there was a fantastic atmosphere - and whenever any of us started to struggle, the thought of Chris just spurred us on.
“When we finished we all went to a pub in Anfield to toast Chris with a glass of Champagne. He would have loved it.”
To donate to the Chris Edwards Hope fund, go online at: http://hopefunds.christies.org/smartweb/funds/view/144