'She never quit fighting': Chris Allsup inspires legions of admirers

News-DemocratJanuary 25, 2014 

Some people go through life scattering good will, laughter and love in their wakes. They might not even know how much until something special happens.

I think Christine Allsup was like that.

Chris, to her friends and all who met her, was half of the identical Allsup twins, with her sister Patricia, or Pat.

Chris died Jan. 18. Her funeral was last Wednesday.

Her motto on her Facebook page was "Live life to the fullest and be kind to others."

Christina Hallett, a friend who is selling Team Chris hoodies and T-shirts for Fight Like A Girl Team Chris, (fundly.com/fight-like-a-girl-chris) said Chris was special.

"I met them (the twins) in 2004," she said. "They were working at Whistlestop's. They were pretty well known around town."

She said the twins would do photo shoots for weddings and individuals as part of their part-time business, Makeufamouz Photography as well as work as bartenders.

Chris was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in November 2009, Pat said.

"It was devastating, but she never quit fighting," Pat said. "She never missed a beat."

But as the end approached, Chris needed help, particularly during the last hospital stays. The pair worked at J.R.'s Last Call on Mascoutah Avenue in Belleville.

"I worked all her shifts," Pat said. "She called me her stunt double."

Then J.R.'s owner Harold Knoth Jr. divided Chris' shifts among everyone to help keep money coming in for her and to let Pat spend all here time with Chris.

Friends also created the fundly.com website to raise money to help with expenses, including a memorial marker for her grave.

It has raised more than $10,000.

People have contributed messages, well wishes and prayers to her Facebook page. A friend shot a video of Chris in the hospital and posted it. In it she is shown in normal hospital routine, hospital gown and all.

Yet through all the pain and sorrow, when she smiled, she lit up the camera.

Pat said she has been astounded by all the love. At a late night vigil at J.R.'s people crowded the bar inside and out to remember Chris.

"I didn't expect a scene like that," Pa said.

"I've never been hugged so many times before," Hallett said "People kept saying I love you."

Another friend created a poster of Chris with small pictures of thousands of Facebook friend pictures on it.

"I never realized how diverse all our friends were," Pat said.

Pat said some people have told her they really haven't lost Chris when they still have Pat to remind them.

"We called ourselves roommates but we also were wombmates," Pat said.

The twins often were together, like back in 2002 when they were 29 and working at B Street Bar in Belleville. They were featured in the News-Democrat along with all their stories about fooling their parents and school teachers as twins.

Now Pat will be playing a different role.

"She was the extrovert. I was the introvert," she said. "I usually don't talk much. But now I'll talk about her to help keep her memory alive."

They used to kid about Chris being the bad twin, who would sneak out at night, and Pat being the good twin who would cover for her.

They even had license plates pointing out which was which.

Pat said Chris told doctors that if she ever had any kidney problems she had a spare parts donor in Pat.

Pat said a woman approached her at the funeral home and said she had driven from far away to meet her.

"She said, 'You inspire me, can I get a hug?" Pat said.

It was just the start.

"At the wake, I hugged four and a half hours straight," she said.

All the web activity and promises of paying forward have her amazed at the impact Chris had.

"She's bringing people together still. That's what she's been doing her whole life," Pat said.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com.

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