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Laura & Jim’s Story

Bringing Families Together at #RedforRuth Event

Parenthood is challenging even in the best of times, with no rule book or guide. An incurable cancer diagnosis for a parent upends the family’s world, with the initial concern often being how to tell the children.

Jim and his wife Laura faced this unthinkable situation when they found out in March 2021 that Laura had bowel cancer.

“The boys were four and six and like most kids, they absolutely doted on their mummy,” Jim says. “We were just thinking, ‘How on earth are we going to cope with this as a family?’ Because as a parent, you’re supposed to have all the answers, and we didn’t.”

Ruth said something about ‘doing death well’, and that’s what Laura did too. The Ruth Strauss Foundation has made a massive difference to us in the worst situation."

JimFather of Archie & Louis

Finding the Ruth Strauss Foundation

When doctors broke the news that Laura’s treatment was not working, the couple knew it was time to tell their sons, Archie and Louis, that their mum was going to die.

Jim contacted the Ruth Strauss Foundation and was connected with a specialist counsellor who helped him and Laura prepare for difficult conversations and anticipate their children’s reactions. “I wanted to do the right things as a parent, and the Ruth Strauss Foundation helped me do that in the pre-bereavement phase,” Jim shares.

How To Talk to Children About Death

According to Jim, having expert guidance during the pre-bereavement phase is essential not only for understanding how to discuss death with children but also for assisting them through their grief when the inevitable happens.

“The advice I got from the Ruth Strauss Foundation was, on the difficult days when the children feel upset and want to have a tantrum, just let them. When my son was upset, I told him to do just that. He screamed and threw his duvet on the floor. Afterwards, I asked how he felt, and he said, ‘I feel better Daddy’. Without that advice he wouldn’t have been able to articulate how he felt and instead we grew closer together. It’s that really practical advice and life-changing support that’s been invaluable.”

Embracing Grief With the Power of Community Support

When it comes to navigating pre-bereavement and grief, it is important to have a network to fall back on and provide comfort and support.

Jim has always been passionate about cricket and discovered a unique community of people united by sport and shared loss through #RedForRuth, the flagship annual event that brings together cricket fans, supporters and families. This day of sporting fun aims to raise funds and awareness for the Ruth Strauss Foundation’s mission.

“The cricket community is amazing, and at #RedForRuth you’ve got an amazing spectacle and a whole crowd of people united by a common hope,” Jim shares. “What better way to spend your time than to be watching the game – the best players in the world battling it out – and contributing to the most amazing cause, which has provided life-changing support for families going through the toughest of times.”

Legacy of Support

As well as sharing a deep love for cricket, Jim’s story mirrors that of Sir Andrew Strauss in their shared experience of loss. Following the death of his wife, Ruth, Sir Andrew set up the Ruth Strauss Foundation in 2019 in her honour and name, aligning with Ruth’s desire to provide a support network for families navigating illness and preparing for parental loss.

Thanks to that legacy, families going through the same thing can find community and kinship through expert support tailored to their unique needs, and through peer support groups for parents and teenagers that the Ruth Strauss Foundation offers.

“Ruth said something about ‘doing death well’, and that’s what Laura did too,” Jim reflects. “The Ruth Strauss Foundation has made a massive difference to us in the worst situation. I see how amazing the support has been as the boys grow up, and it is something I will always be grateful for.”

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