Acacia Surridge-Hill passed away peacefully at her Crewe home as the snow fell on Sunday, November 28. She leaves behind mum Carly Surridge, aged 32, stepdad Ben Hardy, aged 26, and brother Landon Surridge-Hill, aged 9. Acacia was set to become a big sister soon as Carly and Ben are expecting a baby girl in January.
Devastated mum Carly said: “Acacia loved Disney and her favourites were Anna and Elsa from Frozen.”
She added: “On Sunday when she went it was snowy, which was just perfect. It was meant to be that way.”
The heartbroken mother added: “She was our ice queen and we will always think of her when it snows.”
Speaking of the sorrow, she said: “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.”
Relieved that little Acacia was no longer in pain, her mother ended: “I’m absolutely devastated, but I’m happy that she’s not going through this anymore and that she can be free.”
Acacia, who loved cream cakes and chicken nuggets, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour in September last year after Carly and Ben noticed a difference in her face after a family meal.
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 after Carly pushed for a scan, doctor’s 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. In the end, she lived for 15 months from when she was first ill. She was very brave, very strong and very determined.”
She added: “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.”
Speaking of the difficulties, she said: “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.”
She added: “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.”
Reflecting on her daughter she said: “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.”
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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 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 12.15 pm.
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.
Additional reporting by Hannah Hiles for Stoke on Trent Live.