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Girl, 6, tragically dies after mum noticed difference in her face at family meal

Acacia Surridge-Hill, a huge fan of Frozen, died as it was snowing outside, and was due to become a big sister in just a matter of weeks as her mum and stepdad are expecting a baby girl

Acacia Surridge-Hill, a huge fan of Frozen, died from a rare cancer

A six-year-old girl has tragically died of cancer after her parents noticed a difference in her face while she was sat down at a family meal.

Acacia Surridge-Hill had a scan which revealed she had a rare brain tumour in September 2020.

Her mum, Carly Surridge, 32, stepdad Ben Hardy, 26, and brother Landon Surridge-Hill, nine, are heartbroken after she died on Sunday, November 28.

She was due to be a big sister in just a matter of weeks as Carly and Ben are expecting a baby girl in January, reports Stoke-on-TrentLive. It was snowing as the Frozen fan passed away, her mum said, adding they “will always think of her when it snows”.

Acacia’s parents noticed there was something wrong with her face when they were eating together
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The family first realised that there was something wrong with Acacia when they were eating together.

She was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour after Carly and Ben noticed one of her eyes was almost closed, and her mouth was slanted on one side.

After a trip to her GP, Acacia was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, but Carly pushed for a scan and doctors found a mass on her brain.

After more scans and an operation, Acacia was diagnosed with a diffuse midline glioma H3K27M – an aggressive, incurable cancer – and she underwent gruelling radiotherapy to slow the tumour’s growth.

Carly said: “She was diagnosed in September last year and we were told she could have 12 months to live, but that it was more likely to be six to nine months.

Hospital scans revealed that Acacia, pictured with her mum, stepdad and brother, had an aggressive cancer
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“In the end, she lived for 15 months from when she was first ill. She was very brave, very strong and very determined.

“Three weeks ago they told us she had weeks to live, so we knew it was coming, but we didn’t know when. She stayed at home with us and we looked after her. We didn’t want to be without family and friends close by.

“She had lost all mobility and was completely paralysed. She had a special support chair called a PPod that was like her little throne. She sat in there during the day and slept in our room at night.

“At the end she was very quiet and sleepy, which felt very strange because she was always like a little whirlwind going 100 miles an hour. She wasn’t in any pain and she just went so peacefully.

Acacia’s mum Carly said that she was a massive fan of Frozen
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“She was always a star, shining bright, and she’s still doing that now. She was adorable and so friendly. She was a wonderful girl and I am very, very proud of her. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Carly told how she was a big fan of Frozen and passed away with it snowing outside.

She said: “Acacia loved Disney and her favourites were Anna and Elsa from Frozen. On the Sunday when she went it was snowy, which was just perfect. It was meant to be that way. She was our ice queen and we will always think of her when it snows.

“She was looking forward to being a big sister. We are having a little girl and we really feel she is a gift from Acacia. She will always be looking down on her.

“I’m absolutely devastated, but I’m happy that she’s not going through this anymore and that she can be free.”

Acacia died at her home in Crewe supported by the team from Wirral’s Clare House Children’s Hospice
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Acacia died at her home in Crewe supported by the team from Wirral’s Clare House Children’s Hospice.

In April more than 80 staff from Acacia and Landon’s school Wistaston Academy in Crewe cycled a total of almost 1,000 miles on exercise bikes – the distance from Crewe to Disneyland Paris and back – to raise money to send Acacia and her family on the trip of a lifetime.

More than £15,000 was raised on a GoFundMe page, but sadly Acacia was too unwell to travel abroad and the family instead took trips to Blackpool, Wales and to see Disney on Ice to make memories together.

Some of the money raised is going towards giving Acacia a funeral fit for a Disney princess, and a horse and carriage will bring her to the service, which takes place at Crewe Crematorium on Monday, December 13, at 12.15pm.

Mourners are asked to dress colourfully as a celebration of Acacia’s life, and any donations will go to Claire House Children’s Hospice in Bebington, the Wirral, whose team supported the family to care for Acacia at home.

Carly said that the family wanted Acacia to be at home with them so they could look after her
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Dominique Griffiths, principal of Wistaston Academy, paid tribute to the six-year-old’s courage and said she would never be forgotten.

She said: “Since her diagnosis in September 2020, Acacia has shown nothing but courage, incredible bravery and a zest for life, even during the toughest of times. Her infectious smile and laugh never failed to light up the room.

“From her very first day in school, Acacia’s passion for learning shone and even in her final months, her love of colouring and stories never wavered. We will remember her for her creativity, vibrant personality and all things Disney; she will be always be our very own princess.

“Our thoughts are with her family, who have become incredibly close to the school community during this last year. Their strength, positivity and resilience can only be described as inspirational. Acacia, Landon and her family will always hold a special place within our hearts and our school family.

“In due course, there will be a celebration of Acacia’s life and a permanent place of reflection for all those that knew her. Acacia, you will never be forgotten.”

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