A real force of nature, full of fun and with a lively sense of humour, it was no surprise that seven-year old Lewis Crossley wanted to be a Youtube Vlogger when he grew up. Favourite topics: tractors, Star Wars and football.
“Lewis was always giggling and talking, we always knew when he was around because of his loud, bubbly nature,” says his dad, Adam.
Our funny, bright, beautiful boy
“We talk about him all the time now that he’s gone. It’s important for us to keep his memory alive.”
Lewis was full of fun and laughter
Creating forever moments became the Crossley family’s mission, when Lewis, then five, was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2015.
Although Adam and wife Susannne had been told that around 90 percent of leukaemia cases in children could be cured, Lewis had a high risk sub-type. He achieved an initial remission but relapsed within a year. He had a stem cell transplant in February 2017 but it didn’t cure him. At that point they knew the prospect of a cure was remote.
“When Lewis’s future became apparent to us, we made it our mission to make memories with him,” Adam says.
The Red Arrows were delighted to have a new recruit for the day
The Crossleys, who live near Crewe, put together an action plan and Lewis made a wishlist packed with once-in-a-lifetime events and experiences.
With the support of friends and inspiring a host of people from the wider community to join in, Team Lewis was set to embark on some unforgettable adventures with their amazing boy.
Among the highlights was a dream come true for Stoke City fan Lewis – taking on the important role of matchday mascot, in a home game against Arsenal on August 19, 2017.
As a matchday mascot – his smile said it all
Walking tall, he stepped onto the pitch hand-in-hand with his hero, City’s keeper, Jack Butland.
“Lewis’s smile said it all. He loved every minute of it,” says Adam.
“He also had the opportunity to meet the Red Arrows, where he had the chance to sit in on a flight briefing, listen to the radio and watch them do a practice flight.”
With ambitions to become a social media star, Lewis shared his own story to raise money for charity.
Mum and Dad felt he was a little too young to have his own YouTube channel but helped him to post videos on a Facebook page they set up for support through his treatment.
The World’s Strongest Man, Eddie Hall, was among the fans and followers he won, and he came to visit when Lewis was in hospital.
Strongman Eddie Hall became a good pal
One thing Lewis really wanted was a treehouse, even drawing carefully detailed plans. So the Crossley family built him one in his Nanny and Grandad’s garden.
“It was by far one of his most treasured possessions,” said Adam, “he used to play in it all the time.”
Lewis was overjoyed with the treehouse in Nanny and Grandad’s garden
Lewis even persuaded them to let him have a sleepover in his beloved treehouse – with Mum and Dad camped on the lawn nearby.
“He lasted till about 3am before he snuck into the tent with us,” smiles Adam.
“The treehouse is now our very own Lewis memorial, and we’re hoping to engrave a memorial stone for it soon, to commemorate his life.”
Lewis drew detailed plans for his dream tree house
Celebrating Lewis is a part of the Crossley family’s everyday, as well as more special occasions.
One event on the cards is a Nerf Gun battle they hope that many of his friends will take part in.
##Celebration of life
“Lewis absolutely loved nerf guns, so I have this idea of us celebrating his life over something he loved to do,” says Adam.
“We also encourage his friends to talk about him and share their memories.”
Lewis sadly lost his battle against Leukaemia on November 3, 2017. His pal, Eddie Hall, was among the many people who paid their respects at his funeral, while Stoke City Football Club held a seventh-minute applause in memory of the little mascot who’d won the hearts of its team and fans alike.
Our beautiful boy
Before he passed away, the determined little boy had been quite specific about what he wanted.
“He was fascinated by fire, so he wanted to be cremated,” says Adam.
“He didn’t want us to scatter his ashes. He had strict orders, and that was to be with his mum wherever she went.”
Lewis’s five-year-old sister Emily, misses her brother everyday.
After losing a tooth, she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy.
“Dear Tooth Fairy,” Emily’s letter said.
“Please tell God to tell Lewis that I miss him.”
Lewis’s Just Giving page helped the family take the time they needed to spend precious time with him. It was a welcome support after Susanne took a career break from work to care for him, but the Crossleys were overwhelmed by just how generous people were. More than £30,000 was raised.
“We were so surprised and amazed at the support we received, but we found it so hard to accept all the money,” says Adam.
Now, he and Susanne are in the process of setting up a charity in Lewis’s memory with the legacy. It’s their hope that Team Lewis Trust will be an enduring gift from a special boy who brought magic into their world and will bring hope to other families.
Unforgettable memories: Susanne, Emily, Lewis and Adam
“The aim of Team Lewis Trust will be to raise funds for more research into the type of leukaemia Lewis had, as advances in that area have lagged behind other leukaemias” Adam explains.
“Lewis was head of his well-wishers army, and will be head of Team Lewis Trust too.
“That’s how we’ll remember him — our funny, bright, beautiful boy.”