A poorly seven-year-old boy has touched the hearts of people worldwide due to the constant smile on his face despite his life-threatening battle with cancer.
The family of little Lewis Crossley have managed to raise £10,000 to fund pioneering treatment in the USA after well-wishers were so moved by his constant positivity.
Adorable photographs of the youngster show him always beaming for the camera even though he has spent most of the last two years in hospital in isolation.
Brave Lewis is facing an uncertain future after a bone marrow transplant failed to help him beat leukaemia.
The little Stoke City fan had the transplant in February this year and, at first, it appeared to be a success.
But just weeks after he was allowed home, parents Susanne, 40, and Adam, 44, were told there was more leukaemia in the bone marrow than before the transplant.
Doctors are currently looking at alternative treatments and the possibility of new drugs and clinical trials – some of which are in the United States.
Susanne said: “There are very few options for treatment now. Time isn’t our friend.
“We are looking if there is anything that can be done to bridge him to another transplant next year or give him as long a life as possible.
“So we are out on a mission to do lots of nice things as some of the treatments have made him quite poorly.
“He has handled it so well, he’s always smiling, he’s so active.”
Star Wars fan Lewis was first diagnosed with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in October 2015, when he was five years old.
He has had multiple courses of chemotherapy at both Royal Stoke University Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Last December, the family was told he had relapsed and it was decided a transplant would be his best hope of a cure.
A suitable bone marrow donor was found in the U.S. and the transplant took place on February 22.
After a lengthy stay in hospital, the majority of which was in isolation, he was discharged home on May 15, but he relapsed again on June 6.
Lewis, who has a five-year-old sister Emily, is now in isolation again as part of his chemotherapy treatment at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
Susanne, who is a manager at the hospital, added: “This has been the most difficult period of our lives.
“The first year was horrendous as he was really so ill.
“You get on the treadmill of treatment so fast that you don’t really have a lot of time to come to terms with it.
“Life revolves around drugs and hospital visits.
“When we were told he had relapsed, it was even worse than the first time and now we are on the third time.
“He’s a very engaging little character. He’s very bright for his age and asks a lot of questions about his illness, so he knows he could die.
“As a mum, you don’t expect to have to have that conversation with your child.
“Lewis is a huge Stoke City fan and he has been invited to go and see the new extended stadium as a VIP.
“He also likes helicopters and aeroplanes, so we are hoping to visit the air ambulance base in Cosford.
“He wants to go camping in Anglesey, and there is a Star Wars attraction at Disneyland Paris.
“We don’t know if he will ever be well enough to go, but he would love it.”
Now friends of Susanne and Adam, who live in Hough, Cheshire, have launched a fundraising mission to help ease the financial pressure on the family.
The Team Lewis page has already raised £11,000 in a month, with the latest event being a cycle ride from Royal Stoke University Hospital to Birmingham.
Susanne said: “We’ve been totally overwhelmed by the support, it’s unbelievable.
“We would like to thank everyone for their generosity.”
Sharon Acton, 50, who is also a manager at Royal Stoke, has set up a JustGiving page on behalf of the family.
She said: “Lewis is an exceptional little boy.
“When we found out he had relapsed, we were upset and disheartened because the bone marrow transplant had gone so well.
“The only thing we could think of was to provide some practical support and take the financial pressure off Adam and Susanne.”
Anybody wishing to donate can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamlewis-1