'Little warrior' who defied odds to fight back from the brink of death
Written by The Newsroom on December 15, 2019
Little Lewis Hulley is the child brought back from the very brink of death.
After medics resuscitated the seven-year-old three times, a priest was called in the early hours of the morning.
His distraught mother, Charlotte, was told to brace herself for the worst.
Yet, following those harrowing hours in intensive care, battling Lewis defied the odds to pull through. And this week his courage was rewarded with a national award.
(Image: Dale Martin)
“I was petrified,” said Charlotte, from Rugeley, Staffordshire, recalling the day, last September, when she almost lost her child.
“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 and Young People Star Awards, supported by TK Maxx, celebrates the strength shown by youngsters fighting the disease.
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 11 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.”
Lewis was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in August, 2018, after Charlotte took him to the doctors with tummy ache and diarrhoea.
(Image: Dale Martin)
“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 11 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 and Young People believes every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition. Around 150 children are diagnosed with cancer in the West Midlands region every year.
Everyone nominated receives a trophy, £50 TK Maxx gift card, t-shirt and a certificate signed by a host of famous faces, including Nanny McPhee and Last Christmas star Dame Emma Thompson and This Morning’s Dr Ranj, as well as children’s favourite entertainer Mister Maker. Their siblings also receive a certificate.
Paula Young, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People in the West Midlands, said: “Our Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, shine an important light on children and young people with cancer.
“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 is why we are calling on families across the region to nominate inspirational youngsters for an award so that we can recognise their incredible courage.”
To nominate a child for an award, visit cruk.org/childrenandyoungpeople
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via Birmingham Mail - Rugeley News