A Chandler's Ford teenager has been chosen to star in a new Cancer Research UK Race for Life radio and YouTube advert.

In a powerful 30 second voiceover, Chaia Rubenstein, 13, shared why she’ll be supporting her mum, Crystal Manuel, at this year’s Race for Life in Southampton after the 40-year-old beat cervical cancer.

The heart-warming words build a vivid picture of everything the Thornden School pupil loves about her mum.

Daily Echo: Crystal and Chaia

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The message will be heard on radio stations across the UK this spring and will also accompany a 15-second clip including photos and video on YouTube.

It is one of three new real life cancer stories for Race For Life. 

Dynamo gymnast, Chaia, knows exactly how vital it is to raise funds for life-saving research. That’s why she’s urging people to visit raceforlife.org and sign up.

Daily Echo: Chaia recording her radio ad

She said: “Why do I Race for Life? For my biggest cheerleader and best strawberry pancake maker, my personal hair stylist, who does my favourite braids. The most forgetful person I know but the one who makes me feel so happy, calm and relaxed. “She’s my matching pyjama buddy and animal lover. The one who ran with me in her tummy, with me in the pushchair and now with me by her side. My mum’s name is Crystal and I’m racing for her.”

Crystal, who lost her mum to womb cance, was diagnosed with cervical cancer during lockdown.

She added: “My first thought was for my children and how I’d lost my own mum at just 49. But after surgery, chemotherapy, brachytherapy and radiotherapy, I am clear of cancer and will be taking part again in Race for Life with Chaia.”

Daily Echo: Crystal and Chaia

Chaia has been part of Race for Life since before she was even born. She was carried around the route while Crystal was pregnant with her, then in her pushchair alongside brother Cameron, 16. These days she jogs alongside her mum in support of her and in memory of her grandma.

Race For Life takes place on Saturday June 22 at Southampton Common. Choose from a 5k, 10k or muddy options. Winchester Race For Life takes place on May 19.