Cancer survivor Lewis, 7, receives top bravery award
A schoolboy from Rugeley who had to be resuscitated three times after being diagnosed with cancer has received a national award for his courage.
Seven-year-old Lewis Hulley's mother Charlotte was told that doctors could do no more for her son after he was rushed to intensive care in September last year.
After resuscitating the youngster three times, doctors called for a priest at 4am in the morning and advised Charlotte to prepare for the worst.
“I was petrified,” she said. “The doctor actually told us to call the family because there was nothing more they could do. My mum and dad came over because we thought he hadn’t got much longer.
“The next thing we knew he started to respond to the treatment. He’s such a fighter he proved everyone wrong.”
Charlotte and Lewis have shared their story to launch an awards scheme that recognises the courage of children and young people with cancer.
The Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Awards celebrate the strength shown by youngsters with cancer.
Lewis was nominated by Charlotte because of the courage he's shown during treatment. His eight-year-old brother Cameron also received a certificate of recognition.
“Lewis had to learn to walk again after spending eleven days in intensive care,” said Charlotte. “But it didn’t faze him, he’s been amazing. I nominated him for the award because he’s our little warrior. He loves his star and it’s great Cameron has got a certificate too because, when Lewis was in hospital, I didn’t see him from one week to the next.”
The youngster was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in August 2018 after Charlotte took him to the doctors with tummy ache and diarrhoea.
“I made an appointment at the doctors and, by the time we saw the GP a few hours later, his eyes and face were yellow,” said Charlotte. “It was horrible to watch.
“We were sent to Stoke hospital for tests, but it never once occurred to me it could be cancer. The following morning I was taken into a room where a consultant told me Lewis might have leukaemia. I was in such shock I collapsed on the floor crying.
Lewis was sent to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he began immediate chemotherapy after further tests confirmed the diagnosis.
“He’d been in hospital a few weeks and had just started losing his hair when he collapsed on the ward,” said Charlotte, who had to quit her job as a hotel housekeeper to look after Lewis. “I’d just taken him to the toilet and the next thing I knew about 15 nurses appeared and rushed him to intensive care.
“I remember calling my mum and dad in a panic and they came straight over. We thought we’d lost him but he just kept fighting. He spent eleven days in intensive care and nine weeks in hospital before he was allowed home.”
Lewis was back on his feet by Christmas but, in January, Charlotte was told Lewis’s body wasn’t reacting as it should to the chemotherapy, so he was switched to a more intensive treatment regime.
After missing a year off school Lewis was back at Western Springs Primary School in September though he faces another two years of chemotherapy treatment.
Charlotte and Lewis are now encouraging other families across the region to nominate eligible children for the Star Awards in the run up to Christmas. The awards are open to all under-18s who currently have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years. There is no judging panel because Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People believes every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition.
Paula Young, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People in the West Midlands, said: “We know that a cancer diagnosis is devastating at any age, but that it can be particularly difficult for a child or young person and their families. That’s why we’re calling on families across the region to nominate inspirational youngsters for an award so that we can recognise their incredible courage.”
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