Ipswich: Mum’s heartache as son asks Santa for cure for sick dad

Russell Harris with his sons Ronnie, 10, and Lennie, 6.

Russell Harris with his sons Ronnie, 10, and Lennie, 6. - Credit: Archant

A mother-of-two whose husband is suffering from a life-threatening brain tumour has spoken of the emotional day she found her eldest son’s Christmas letter to Santa.

Emma Harris, 31, discovered the letter hidden in the room of her son Ronnie. It was written before last Christmas, and it didn’t ask for any gifts or treats.

Instead, Ronnie asked Santa for a cure for his dad, saying it would make him, “the happiest boy in the world.”

Emma and her husband Russell, 32, from Gainsborough in Ipswich, have known each other since the age of three.

The childhood sweethearts got married in August 2010 and have two sons, Ronnie, 10, and Lennie, six.


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But eight years ago Russell was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which has become more aggressive in recent years. The inoperable tumour is now categorised as grade four severity.

Life for Ronnie and Lennie isn’t easy. Mrs Harris described how emotional she became when she discovered the heartfelt letter penned by Ronnie.

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“I didn’t know he had it, I was just cleaning his bedroom when I found it shoved under his bed.

“I was a bit touched, it was quite heart wrenching to think that a child of his age doesn’t want anything for Christmas. It made me cry. I also felt proud of him.”

When she spoke to Ronnie about the letter he said he didn’t want anybody to know that he’d written it.

“The boys have good days and bad days,” said Mrs Harris. “I care for Russell 24 hours a day and make sure my kids do everything they need to.

“Every day is absolutely normal, I still take them to school, I do everything a mother would do, but it’s hard to see when he’s badly sick a lot and they come out of their room.

“Ronnie does stuff 10 year olds shouldn’t have to do, like making his brother’s breakfast and learning to cook.”

Mrs Harris also describes how Ronnie became emotional when his school came second in a table tennis competition, saying he had tried to win the final for his Dad.

However she added that despite her husband’s illness, he continued to attend all of his sons’ home games at Ipswich Valley Rangers FC.

What Mrs Harris is most touched by is the maturity with which Ronnie has dealt with his dad’s illness, phoning the ambulance when Russell is unwell and learning new skills to help around the house.

“He’s taking the cooking class in school so he can cook his dad’s dinner,” she added.

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