18th July 2022

Remembering Julie Lawrie

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Alex Lawrie is determined to raise awareness of lung cancer after his mum, Julie, died just four months after receiving her diagnosis following a period of back pain – one of the lesser-known symptoms of lung cancer.

“My mum was a lovely person, and although it sounds like a cliché, she really was loved by everyone.

Mum was born in 1961, she loved music, the arts, and was a professional dancer when she was younger and toured much of the world. She met my dad in 1987 and had me as her first child in 1994. I was the first of 4 kids. I am 28 now, my sister Freya, 25. My brothers Arrian and Jason 22 and 20 respectively.

My family – Me, Dad, Arrain, Freya, Mum and Jason | Mum and Dad on their wedding day

Mum had a very empathetic nature, she had love for animals and all living things.

Mum and Arrain – surrounded by the dogs!

She was diagnosed in November 2020 and sadly passed in February 2021 – it all happened very quickly. It was back and neck pain she went to the doctor about first, six months before her diagnosis.

Sadly, she wasn’t getting anywhere and was still in a lot of pain, so asked for a second opinion from another doctor but by this time, it was too late.”

Under the radar

“I found out about Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation through a friend who saw Cathy Brokenshire on Breakfast TV. She was talking about lung cancer and how it so often goes undiagnosed until it’s too late. This is where I learned how often lung cancer seems to go under the radar and why we need to change something to spot these cancers more often.

I know that Cathy is backing Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s campaigning for national lung cancer screening – and I too support the charity the whole way with this.

The reality is that if we had national lung cancer screening, it could have prolonged or even saved my mum’s life.

Before her diagnosis, I was not previously aware of lung cancer and how common it is, I’d heard of it but knew virtually nothing – all the more reason to raise lifesaving awareness and get the information out there. 

I encourage anyone with back pain or any other possible symptoms to get them checked out, better safe than sorry. Don’t be afraid to push for a second opinion too.

The thing I miss the most about my mum? Just her general way of being. She was a loving and caring person that was genuinely helpful and selfless. I really wish she was still here to see us all grow up.”