Michelle Lawrie from Fife, Scotland, lost her husband, RAF Sergeant Ronald Lawrie in March 2006. 33-year-old Ron passed away after a five-year battle with cancer.
47-year-old Michelle describes how her and Ron’s lives were turned upside down, just three months after they were married and how a charity has helped them through the last eleven years.
Michelle and Ron were married on May 19th, 2001 and had just returned from honeymoon when Ron had his first seizure. “He’d been getting a lot of headaches” said Michelle “but the RAF medics put it down to stress, which was something Ron just didn’t do. He was so laid back so I didn’t believe for a second it was stress, and the number of headaches he was getting was concerning.”
After he collapsed, Ron was rushed to hospital, and six weeks after their wedding, Ron was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour. Michelle said: “I never thought they would say ‘brain tumour’, I thought it was probably epilepsy.
“We’d only been married for three months when we got the diagnosis. Ron and I had met three and a half years earlier in Scotland, through my brother-in-law. We had both just moved from the outskirts of London.
“Three months after he was diagnosed, Ron had an operation to remove the tumour, in August 2001. Then he had to follow up with radiotherapy, so we were at hospital every day for six weeks before he went back to work. The cancer never left Ron but he wanted to fight it with as much positivity as we could muster between us.”
Michelle discovered she was pregnant with their daughter Sophia, now 13 years old, at the beginning of 2003.
“Ron was offered a promotion that summer to become a sergeant which meant a lot to him” said Michelle. “He moved down to Uxbridge, and I sold the family home and moved down to join him when Sophia was three months old.
“While we were in Uxbridge we discovered the cancer had got worse and Ron started chemotherapy. We moved back up to Scotland a year and a half later and eventually got our home together in Fife.
“Ron fought hard right up until the end. He passed away on 19th March 2006, holding my hand. He’d tried to live his life to the full as much as possible throughout his illness, thinking there would be a cure. We went through a lot together.”
Sophia was just two and a half years old when Ron passed away. Michelle said: “She was just as strong as me, she used to nurse her dad during the chemotherapy. She’s grown up to be a very caring little girl.
In 2012, Michelle discovered Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity set up by war widow Nikki Scott, who lost her husband and the father to her two children, Corporal Lee Scott, in Afghanistan in 2009.
Michelle said: “We didn’t know anything like Scotty’s Little Soldiers existed until we were away on holiday and another mum mentioned the charity. They are just brilliant. Sophia certainly couldn’t have done everything she’s wanted to do without their grants and support.
“Because of Scotty’s we have been able to go on holiday, Sophia has made some close friendships with other children who are in a similar situation and she’s had the opportunity to pursue her passion of horse riding and the French Horn.
“For Sophia, having Scotty’s in her life is so important, every time a Scotty’s envelope comes through the door there’s a smile on her face. They understand how it feels to lose someone and even just getting away to Centre Parcs helps you get away from it all.”
To find out more about the work of Scotty’s Little Soldiers with bereaved British Forces children please click here.
If you would like to donate to Scotty’s or set up a small regular donation you can do so by clicking here.