WATCHING his wife Natasha give birth to their first child was something Dundowran's Scott Willing said he would remember and cherish for the rest of his life.
But the memory of that incredible moment will always be tinged with sadness after Natasha lost her fight with cancer just six weeks after their son Ryan was born.
Natasha was diagnosed with cancer after growths were detected around her bowel during a routine ultrasound when she was 26 weeks pregnant.
She underwent surgery to confirm the diagnosis and the day after her operation Natasha gave birth to Ryan, who arrived 10 weeks early.
"I found out my wife had cancer one day and became a father the next," Scott said.
Natasha, who worked for Ergon Energy in Maryborough, died three weeks ago, having spent just six weeks with her newborn son.
The only comfort for Scott is the time they spent together as a family before she passed.
Natasha had always wanted to be a mum and despite the tragic circumstances, Scott said his wife was over the moon and incredibly proud of their little boy - and he was proud of her.
"She was so brave, fighting through it all," he said.
"It was one of my proudest days when she gave birth to our son.
"I'll cherish that for the rest of my life."
The Fraser Coast community has thrown its support behind Scott and his son, moved by the tragic story.
Kate Grohn, a childhood friend of Natasha's, has started a fundraiser and is aiming to raise $50,000 for Scott and Ryan to help them get through the first year with as much financial security as possible.
So far more than $3000 has been donated by people around the region.
Several of the nurses who cared for Natasha during her final weeks have left donations for the family.
Another woman, Stacey Davis, is planning to hold a market event to boost the fundraiser.
Scott described his wife as being a caring, loving person.
"She was really warm - always up for a joke and a laugh."
The couple were childhood sweethearts who had been together since they were 14 years old.
Scott said it was hard to accept that Natasha was gone and even harder to accept that Ryan would never know his mother.
The way the Fraser Coast community had reached out to help after hearing the tragic story was very moving, Scott said. "People have been so helpful."
Scott said he was very grateful for the support that had been offered to both himself and his son.
Kate said she wanted to help the family in any way she could, saying ideally she would love to raise $50,000 - roughly a year's wages - so Scott would be able to spend as much time as possible with his son.
To donate, visit https://www.mycause.com.au/page/104329/ryansfund
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