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

 

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

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

Just Posted

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read