Sherry’s Run organizers announced Monday the 10th annual run/walk to benefit those affected by cancer in Wilson County will honor Ronnie Lawson on race day, Sept. 14.
In April 2003 after driving back from a race at the Nashville Speedway, then 22-year-old Ronnie Lawson began to feel dizzy and lightheaded. A few moments later, he was suddenly unable to control his vehicle as it sped down the interstate with Brittany, his fiancé of four months, at his side. Immediately grabbing the steering wheel, Brittany reached the brake petal and pulled the car over to the side of the interstate safely. Shook up and confused, she immediately called an ambulance.
Lawson had experienced a seizure while driving. Just a few days later his mother and Brittany forced Lawson to go to the hospital, where several tests were conducted to find the exact cause of his seizure. While waiting for the results, two security guards approached him and told him he could not leave the premises. That was the moment when he knew something was terribly wrong.
The doctor diagnosed him with a stage 2 oligodendroglioma, a tumor that resides in the brain. It was behind his right eye. He began immediately taking treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, help stop the cancer’s progression. This vicious cycle continued for seven years.
During this difficult time, Lawson decided to continue on with life instead of just giving up. He and Brittany got married Aug. 23, 2003. Even though they had to move the original date up so his chemotherapy would not conflict with the events, it was the happiest time of their lives. Starting a family was also something they both wanted and were totally thrilled when their son, Jordan was born in January 2007 while Lawson was in remission.
“There’s nothing quite like parenthood. It’s just special,” said Lawson.
He said his family is what keeps him fighting even on the hardest of days.
Later in 2010 Lawson began noticing some changes in his health. He returned to the doctor, where he was informed his tumor had advanced to stage 3. After various treatments and surgeries, it seemed as though nothing would stop its advancement. His tumor eventually led to his optic nerve, which has caused some vision problems for Lawson.
He first heard of Sherry’s Run through his wife’s friend. The representative had offered to help when they heard about Lawson’s health; however, he turned it down.
“I just felt like other people needed it more than we did – people with more kids, perhaps,” he said.
After surgery and several treatments, finances began to take a toll on the young family, as it would anybody.
“We didn’t have to approach them for help; they contacted us,” Lawson said. “Their generosity has made my family’s life and mine easier. I cannot say thank you enough.”
Lawson experienced several obstacles in his life; however, he has a support system that never lets him fall. His wife, Brittany, has held his hand through all of it.
“That girl is amazing,” said Lawson. “She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Hillcrest Baptist Church has also been a form encouragement for him.
“I’m a very religious man,” he said. “I’m faithful to the Lord, and I know He has a plan.“
It’s through his faith in God Lawson finds peace and hope.
Sherry’s Run plans to honor Lawson at the 2013 run/walk in hopes of inspiring others who may be facing cancer through his remarkable example.
The 10th annual Sherry’s Run is scheduled for Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. in Lebanon, beside the main office of Wilson Bank & Trust at 623 W. Main St.
To refer someone who might qualify for assistance, or to register for the race, call 615-925-9932 or visit sherrysrun.org.