Ella-Ray Lewis in her bedroom, following the transformation made possible through Make-A-Wish Canada (formerly Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada). (Contributed photo)

Ella-Ray Lewis in her bedroom, following the transformation made possible through Make-A-Wish Canada (formerly Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada). (Contributed photo)

Surrey teen battling skin cancer has miracle wish granted, sparkles and all

Make-A-Wish challenge adds luxury sparkle to Ella-Ray Lewis’ bedroom

This month, Black Press Media has teamed up with Make-A-Wish and BraveFace to help grant wishes, one mask purchase at a time. Here’s one wish that was granted through the Make-A-Wish B.C. and Yukon chapter…

A South Surrey girl who wished five years ago for a magical visit with mermaids is basking in a sea of comfort these days, after officials with the wish-granting Make-A-Wish charity challenged her to “think outside the box.”

Ella-Ray Lewis said this week that she didn’t realize when she switched her wish – granted due to her ongoing battle with an aggressive skin cancer – last fall to a dream bedroom instead of a trip, just how perfect the move would turn out to be.

“Once I got it, I was very happy at the time, I had just got out of an operation and was in recovery,” Ella-Ray said by email Monday (Dec. 14). “I had many ideas on what to do with my wish.

“Now I am so glad I chose to give my bedroom a makeover because at the time when I made my wish I didn’t know that (there) would be such thing as COVID-19. And I do online school now, so I’m so glad that I have a beautiful room to do my online school in.”

It was Christmastime 13 years ago when Ella-Ray first captured hearts on the Semiahmoo Peninsula and beyond. A photo of Ella-Ray, who was born with a rare skin condition, in her dad Craig’s arms at a community event set off a chain of goodwill that has continued to this day; from fundraisers and gifts of baby formula to princess parties and more.

READ MORE: Party of a lifetime for South Surrey girl

Now in Grade 8 at Semiahmoo Secondary, she was first introduced to Peace Arch News readers when she was 16 months old, after a former classmate of her dad’s decided to organize a fundraiser to help the family.

In the years since, the precocious-toddler-turned-teenager has undergone 71 operations – the majority of which have been steps to deal with her skin cancer; removing diseased skin and implanting bags to grow new skin. There have also been a series of procedures to correct a curvature in her spine that was diagnosed just before her seventh birthday.

The latter operations wrapped up in September 2019, while the next round of surgeries to tackle the remaining diseased skin – in which bags will again be implanted under her skin to grow new skin, then refilled every week for 16 weeks – is anticipated to get underway in the new year, after father and daughter receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Because of COVID, we’re just kind of on a hold,” Craig Lewis said.

READ MORE: Canada gives first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

In the meantime, Ella-Ray is enjoying what her dad describes as “the best wish ever.” It arrived just before summer and “10 years from now, it’s a big girl’s dream bedroom, too,” he said.

The new decor is the all-white, Michael Amini Sky Tower collection – a bed with illuminated headboard, a dresser with lighted mirror, a chest of drawers and night stand. A computer desk, printer and other details were added with the help of friends, and for the holidays, Ella-Ray has strung up sparkling Christmas lights.

The 13-year-old said she chose a white theme because she “wanted my room to look more open, bigger and light.” Previously, it had a blue, ocean theme, she said.

Her dad said the added comfort will be especially appreciated when the next round of surgeries begins, as Ella-Ray will be spending a lot more time at home again.

Lewis said he reached out to Peace Arch News this month because this is the same time of year that Ella-Ray’s story began, and he wanted to share how far she has come, as well as the details of her wish finally coming true.

He also wanted to thank the community again for helping his family weather the journey.

“And all this started back at this time 13 years ago, at the London Drugs, where the guy was shaking the bells and sent me down to the (Christmas event),” he said.

“I’d love to let everyone know all the help that came out of White Rock/South Surrey and all these fundraising people. They all really need a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Ella-Ray.”


Critically ill kids put on a Brave Face every day. Now you can, too, in support of Make-A-Wish.

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions, and we invite you to join us in helping children’s wishes come true. Click here to buy your masks today!

By purchasing a pack of three masks designed and manufactured right here in British Columbia for children, youth and adults, you’ll be supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.

Make-A-WishSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ella-Ray Lewis, from May 2008 to March 2014.

Ella-Ray Lewis, from May 2008 to March 2014.

Just Posted

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read