Lauren has publicly shared that Sandra was misdiagnosed with and treated for cramps, IBS and muscle issues, with the cancer later spreading to her hips.
Sandra was just 38 years old when she became unwell and passed away at age 41. Making the diagnosis all the more difficult was the fact that Sandra had no family history of the disease.
“There’s one reason alone why we want to share our story with everyone and that is because cancer is real and it can happen to anyone,” Lauren told A Current Affair.
“We never thought it would happen to our family, we never thought it would happen to Sandra, we never thought it would affect us to the stage of actually losing her and the thing is she could maybe be here with us if she detected it early enough.”
“The stomach pains that she had been feeling for over a year, that is what it was the whole time,” she continued.
“But no one had tested her for bowel cancer, it was everything else under the sun.”
Lauren has been very open about the pain of her loss, often taking to Instagram to share photos of her sister-in-law and discuss bowel cancer in an attempt to raise awareness.
“The symptoms are not obvious…” the mum-of-two wrote in a previous Instagram post.
“Friends – no matter how minor your symptom is, get a second opinion, get all the tests – do not feel embarrassed or ‘over the top!
“If she had been AWARE that Bowel Cancer affects young people, or knew of someone’s story, she may have done a test and may have been able to beat it & survive. But it was detected too late for our darling Sandy, and left too long untreated. Awareness could have saved Sandy’s life,” she wrote.
“PLEASE GENERATE AS MUCH AWARENESS AS POSSIBLE 🙏🏼,” she finished, all in caps.
In February 2021 - prior to Sandra's death - Lauren asked her to be her maid of honour after Barry got down on one knee during a hospital visit, asking Lauren to be his wife. Later that day, the couple – along with Sandra and close family members – exchanged vows in a key ceremony.
“She (Sandra) was too weak to even walk and Tyron had to carry her and stuff,” Barry said to A Current Affair. “There was no fuss, no frills. It was all about love.”