To mark the end of his cancer treatment, 11-year-old James Lewis from Erith rang a special bell in Tiger Ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Friday 19 May. James was diagnosed with spinal astrocytoma (a spinal cord tumour) at nine years old. Since then, he has been receiving chemotherapy treatment on Tiger Ward (our children’s cancer unit) for 18 months.
James rang the chemotherapy bell with his family cheering him on as the corridor filled with colleagues who had treated him, applauding . As a special treat arranged by his parents, a Ferrari waited for him outside the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to take him home in style.
You can watch a video of James leaving QEH in a Ferrari below:
Charlene Lewis said: “James has overcome so much, and we are incredibly proud of him. He was initially diagnosed with scoliosis (an abnormal twisting and curvature of the spine) in 2019, and after wearing a brace for a year, he’s started to deteriorate. James then became severely unwell and woke up paralysed from the waist down. He was rushed to the hospital and had an MRI, which revealed the spinal cord tumour. Since then, he has undergone several operations and weekly chemotherapy for 18 months. He is now stable and will be monitored closely and get MRI scans every three months.”
“We can't express our gratitude to your colleagues in Tiger Ward enough; they go above and beyond for everyone and have been there for us as a family throughout James's treatment. The relationship we have with the team is special and it made such a difference to James's care and hospital stays. We could not have received better care from a hospital and are very grateful to have them as a part of our journey.
“The team is dedicated to what they do and ensures your child feels at ease and comfortable whilst undergoing treatment. They always communicate with you as a family and have a great bond with your child. We are sad to say goodbye to the team, and we hope to stay in touch in the future.”
The day before his birthday, James completed his chemotherapy. To celebrate James' 11th birthday, the family went to Majorca.
Cat Wilde, Lead Macmillan Paediatric Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, added: "Over the past 18 months, taking care of James and his family has been an absolute pleasure. He has come to us every Friday and has become part of the Tiger Ward family. James has been incredibly resilient and has taken it all in his stride throughout his treatment. For all of us on Tiger Ward, witnessing him ring the bell has been very moving. James and his family have accomplished so much, and we are very proud of them. We wish them every success in the future.”
The chemotherapy bell was funded by the charity, End of Treatment Bells. To find out more about the charity, please visit the End of Treatment Bells website.