A NETBALL coach is pushing herself to the limit to help save lives.

Mum-of-two Andrea Gumbs, from Runcorn, is running the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 13, to support Papyrus, a charity which strives to prevent young suicide.

Their cause is very close to her heart as her dear friend, Carla Dunphy-Clarkson, aged 23, took her own life last year, and another 24-year-old male friend is recovering after attempting suicide two years ago.

Andrea, aged 48, of Sandymoor, said: “Stigma makes it embarrassing for young men to seek help because they feel they should be strong and able to cope.

“I want them to realise they are not on their own. Just pick up the phone and call Papyrus’ hopeline.”

Andrea, who has two daughters, Kalicia, aged 27, and Jewel, aged 24, said she wished she had been able to save her friend’s life.

She added: “Carla was a lovely spiritual person. It was devastating. We never thought it would happen.

“We all felt we didn’t do enough. This is why I’m now trying to help other people.”

Andrea, a member of Halton Netball Club, did the Liverpool Half Marathon when she was 40.

She is eating pasta, brown rice and fish to build up her carbs, and swimming and playing netball to boost her training.

She said: “I’m scared, worried and excited. People have been very supportive.

“I just hope I cross the line before the last person.”

To sponsor Andrea, visit justgiving.com/andrea-gumbs

Papyrus chief executive Ged Flynn, from Widnes, said: "Nothing must diminish our resolve to prevent young suicide and from doing all we can to enhance the emotional resilience of young people and those who care for them.

"We are determined to make known the scale of this social issue and to help to reduce the number of people who die by suicide. One young suicide is one too many.

"We are delighted that Andrea is supporting our work."

Every year, between 600 and 800 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 take their own lives. Under the age of 35, this figure rises to 1,600.

The Papyrus hopeline is 0800 0684141 or you can e-mail pat@papyrus-uk.org or text 07786 209697.