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Guest Character Profiles > Elaine Lawson Sancia Robinson

Elaine Lawson 2011-2013
Lives: Rowanoaks Special Care Facility
Marital Status: Eddie Lawson (Divorced)
Children: Rhys

Single mother to Rhys, Elaine Lawson was diagnosed with spinal degeneration when her son was only 14. Although Elaine managed to cope with her illness for a few years, by the time Rhys was in year 12, she had to go into a home for full-time care and Rhys, previously planning a career as a tennis player, decided to go into medicine and become a surgeon, in the hope that he could help his mother and other people like her.

With Elaine living at the Rowanoaks care home and Rhys working at the nearby Erinsborough Hospital, he would regularly visit her and keep her up-to-date on the progress of his career. Though Elaine believed that everything was on track for her son to become a surgeon, Rhys had actually failed his interview to get onto the surgical programme, after a night out drinking. When his mum presented him with a name badge to mark the beginning of his new career, Rhys only became more determined to get onto the programme, manipulating Erin Salisbury until finally he managed to get her suspended and she quit her place. Rhysí actions hadnít gone unnoticed by Dr Karl Kennedy, however, and he threatened to tell his seniors about what the younger doctor had done. Desperate not to miss out, Rhys took Karl to visit his mum, and show him why it meant so much to him. Elaine was delighted to meet Karl and quizzed him on her sonís career and love life. Though Karl was touched by Rhysí story, he still felt that Rhys needed to grow up a bit before entering training, but the leader of the surgical programme, Jessica Girdwood, decided to give Rhys a chance anyway.

A few weeks later, Rhys went to visit his mum and she happily told him that she'd arranged to leave the care home and would be spending Easter at his house. Still unable to cope with his housemates, Jade and Kyle, finding out about his family life, he lied that he would be working and she wouldn't be able to come. When Jade and Kyle later turned up at the home with some flower deliveries and Rhys was forced to pretend he was there for work, he finally realised his mistake and took his mum out for the day to introduce her to some of his colleagues at the hospital. Elaine soon realised that Rhys hadn't been completely honest with her, and he admitted the truth about forcing other people out of the surgical programme to get a place. She accused him of being just like his father.

When Rhys next visited his mum, he had news of a girl he'd met, his new neighbour Vanessa Villante. Now slightly more wary of her son's tales from home, Elaine asked Rhys is he was going to treat this girl as badly as all the others, but Rhys said that this time, it was different. Soon after, Elaine was at the hospital for an appointment when she met Karl's ex-wife Susan, who suffered from MS and also had to see the doctor. During an earlier appointment, Rhys had shown Susan a photo of his mum and told her about her illness, so Susan immediately recognised Elaine and invited her for coffee. The pair got on famously, sharing tales about their ex-husbands, but Rhys was horrified when he came to collect his mum and found out about their little chat, angrily telling Susan to stay out of his personal life.

After dating Vanessa for a few weeks, Rhys decided that it was time to introduce her to his mum. Unfortunately, his cryptic message left Vanessa believing that he'd invited her over for an afternoon in bed, and as she arrived at the door and almost started ripping Rhys' clothes off, Vanessa was mortified to find his mum listening in from the kitchen. However, after an initial awkward start, Vanessa and Elaine found themselves getting on well and the lunch was a success. A few weeks later, Rhys brought his mum to Harold's to tell her that he'd been offered a place on a study programme, and would be going to Japan for three months. Vanessa explained that she would be going too, and said that she'd arrange for a weekly food parcel to be delivered to Elaine, and for regular visits from Susan until they got back. Elaine was touched by Vanessa's kindness and realised that Rhys might have finally found a long-term relationship. Outside the store, she gave Rhys a ring, that she wore on a necklace and had belonged to Rhys' nan, and told him that one day, he was going to want to give it to Vanessa.

Some weeks later, Rhys and Vanessa had split up, over Rhys finding out that, due to a hand injury, he would never be able to become a surgeon. Vanessa, meanwhile, had arranged to marry Lucas, the father of her baby, to avoid her strict Catholic family shutting her out. When doubts about Rhys had caused her to run out on her wedding, he had been hopeful that they could get back together, but she was adamant that his inability to show her any love or support meant that they could never be a couple. When Rhys visited Elaine and lost his temper over her constant questions, she encouraged him to fight to get her back. His attempts to win her over with cupcakes spelling out 'sorry' and her own birthing suite at the hospital failed to improve matters, and Elaine said that his empty gestures meant nothing if he couldn't show Vanessa that he wouldn't let her down again. Soon after, Rhys ended up proposing when he was present during the birth of Vanessa's son, Patrick, but when Patrick was diagnosed with a heart condition, Vanessa ended the engagement, wanting to focus all of her energy on her son. As Vanessa and Lucas then became a couple, a devastated Rhys began to realise that he wasn't going to win her back, and told his mum of the whole sorry tale, handing her back the engagement ring and saying that he wouldn't need it now.

A little while later, Rhys received a letter from his father, Eddie, asking if they could meet up when he came to Melbourne on business a few weeks later. Rhys ignored the letter, and, when his father then called, he made it clear that he wasn't interested. After chatting to his mum about the situation, she made her feelings on Eddie clear, and gave Rhys a bundle of letters that he'd written to his father as a teenager, all of which had been returned to sender, unopened. The following week, Elaine heard that Rhys had been involved in an accident, a gas explosion at Lassiter's hotel, and was taken to the hospital to see him. She was relieved to find that he was OK, and told him that she was sorry for their conversation the week before, and that life was too short; if he wanted to see his dad, then he should. Rhys explained that he'd already arranged to meet him. Elaine told her son that she loved him, before being taken back to the care home, unaware that it would be the last time she saw him. A stubborn Rhys checked himself out of the hospital without a full check-up, and collapsed in the car park from an undiagnosed blood clot, his sudden death a huge shock to everyone who knew him.

The explosion had also killed local school principal Priya Kapoor and her widower Ajay, a lawyer, was determined that Lassiter's hotel and owner Paul Robinson. He asked Elaine to join him in a class action suit, but Paul's lawyer Tim Collins then visited Elaine and made her an offer of $200,000 to settle outside of court. Elaine admitted to Vanessa, who had been visiting her regularly since Rhys's death, that she was tempted by the guaranteed money, as it would help with her ongoing medical bills and would also mean that she could make a permanent move up to a facility in Tweed Heads and be closer to her sister. With Paul and Ajay each pulling Elaine in a different direction, Vanessa told them that she was disgusted with them both and suggested that one of them should be the bigger man and back down. Ajay then went to see Elaine and admitted that he'd like her on his side, but that he could understand her reasons for wanting to take the settlement, and that he would continue to fight for justice for Priya and Rhys. Elaine then decided to take the settlement and, after scattering flowers at the lake with Vanessa and saying a final farewell to Rhys, she moved up north to be with her sister, her only remaining family.

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Biography by Steve