WHEN Rachel Lawrence was born with cystic fibrosis, her parents were told she may not live more than a few weeks or months.
Yet the daughter of former Burton MP Sir Ivan Lawrence exceeded all expectations, as she went on to survive all prognoses and live a full and happy life as a successful criminal barrister.
But her condition sadly caught up with her last month, when she suffered a collapsed lung just three hours after she became engaged to fiancé Christian Mueller, and died four weeks later.
Sir Ivan told the Mail: “My wife Gloria and I are devastated by the tragic loss of our beautiful, dynamic and very charming Rachel. We could not be more proud of all that she has achieved.
“Rachel had been living without any self-pity with this illness since she was born. It was inevitable her life would be shortened, but she seems to have lived in spite of that.
“She’s an inspiration to others.”
Miss Lawrence was at her father’s side when he became a member of parliament in 1974 and grew up in the area in the public eye. As a child she excelled at school and was a passionate amateur pianist, winning prizes at Burton Music Festival.
After studying at the University of London, she was called to the bar in 1992, and throughout her career worked on some very important criminal cases. In one notable instance, she teamed up with her father in the defence of famous snooker player Quinten Hann, who was accused of rape. He was acquitted.
Miss Lawrence, who also suffered from type one diabetes, had to be medicated for several hours a day, but refused to let that get in her way. In 1996 she won the Cystic Fibrosis Achiever of the Year award because of what she had done.
Sir Ivan set up the Burton Cystic Fibrosis Support Group as a result of his daughter’s condition.
Miss Lawrence’s lung collapsed at the start of August, and she was rushed to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. She was later moved to the intensive care unit, where she was placed on a life support machine. On Friday, her parents made the heartbreaking decision to switch off the machine.
In line with her wishes, several of her organs were donated for use by others.
Sir Ivan said: “At the end, she has donated what few good organs she possessed so that others might live.”