Foulsham family’s gift of thanks following sad death of Lewie, aged six
The family of a six-year-old boy who bravely fought a brain tumour have thanked a Norfolk hospice for its 'amazing' support during his final weeks.
Lewie Fisher, who loved fast cars, tractors and going to the 'beachside', was able to die peacefully at home in his own bed thanks to the 24-hour support of staff at Quidenham Children's Hospice.
His parents Angie and Alan from Foulsham, near Dereham, are determined to give something back and are organising a series of fund-raisers for the hospice, run by East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).
Lewie was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in March 2010 aged four and successfully underwent eight cycles of chemotherapy, never complaining or losing his cheeky sense of humour.
After the tumour in the back of his neck was apparently beaten, his family were devastated to learn just a month later that the cancer had returned and nothing could be done.
With the help of staff from the hospice and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), Mrs Fisher was able to care for her youngest son at home.
'I can't stress enough what a comfort it was for him to be with his toys, where he was comfortable and where people could see him,' she said.
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'We were able to give him as normal a life as possible. The nurses became a second family, it was just amazing. I could carry on being a mum and that was important to him as well.'
Mrs Fisher, said Lewie, a pupil at Foulsham Primary School, was 'full of the joys of life' and popular with his classmates.
He had just started attending school full-time when he became ill and enjoyed maths and numbers, often asking his mum to make up sums for him.
'Lewie loved walking the dogs with me, which he did right until the end,' she said. 'In hospital he would ask for puzzles and games - he always had to be doing something.'
Mrs Fisher, 41, took Lewie to the doctors one Friday in March 2010 when he began complaining of neck ache every week at the same time.
That weekend his symptoms worsened, he was sick and cried with pain, and the family were referred to the NNUH on Monday.
'At 5.30pm that day we were told he had a brain tumour,' she said. 'Five days later he had surgery to remove it and we were told it was cancer.'
Lewie underwent radiotherapy and then began a 48-week course of chemotherapy at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where he would often make the staff laugh.
'He never made a fuss,' Mrs Fisher said. 'He managed all eight cycles of chemotherapy and that's why we thought he had a really good chance. Things were looking really hopeful.'
Lewie started to attend school part-time and eat solid food again - even having a packed lunch at school in July.
'The moment he walked in, word would get around. They were always pleased to see him because he was always smiling and happy.'
But a week after the summer holidays began, Lewie started to be sick again.
A CT scan in August was clear, but Mrs Fisher felt something was 'dreadfully wrong' when he started to lose his balance and complain of pain in his neck and back.
An MRI scan confirmed the worst - the cancer was back in the lining of his brain and in his spine.
'It was everywhere,' she said. 'They said there was nothing they could do.'
Mrs Fisher gave Lewie life-prolonging chemotherapy at home, but stopped in November last year when it became apparent it was not working.
Lewie suffered seizures and sometimes lost the use of his arms and legs, but he enjoyed a family holiday at Elveden, near Thetford, that month.
He celebrated his father's birthday in December, Christmas with his family, including brother Chris, 21, and Jamie, 17, and his oldest brother's birthday on New Year's Day before dying in his sleep on January 3.
'It was like he had done everything we wanted him to do,' Mrs Fisher said. 'The smile had gone from his beautiful brown eyes.'
Around 200 people, including children, attended the funeral, which included tractors, his favourite toys and the songs he loved, including Poker Face by Lady GaGa.
Mourners were also given a bulb they could plant at home to remember Lewie.
'We have had so many cards and letters. I want to thank everyone,' Mrs Fisher added.
The family were in contact with Quidenham hospice every day and are fund-raising so the fantastic support they received can be available to others.
o A ladies night with stalls, a raffle and games will be held at New Frost Hall in Foulsham, from 7.30pm on March 31.
o Family friends Neville Websdale and Sally Needle have organised at tractor run at the hall from 10.30am on July 1.