A final salute to Josh

Dressed as Captain America Joshua Lapi (formerly Josh Sweeney Brown) was a well-known face to many.

Josh and his mum Fiona have been coming to Francis House since he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of four months. 

He was a remarkable lad, a person of great courage, but he was also intelligent, always smart and most of all extremely articulate.

At the age of seven he was interviewed on the radio when KEY 103 broadcast from Francis House. He also had an important speaking part on the Francis House DVD made especially for healthcare professionals.

He has been an excellent spokesman for the younger kids who use Francis House – when asked by the Care Quality Commission Inspector if he had any problems at Francis House he replied, “the food is DIS-GUSTING!” (the Inspector noted in her report that she then watched him eat everything on his plate).

In 2010 Fiona met Josh’s stepdad Joel and they had two more boys Alfie and Oscar both of whom loved coming to Francis House.  In 2019 Fiona gave birth to Felicity a much-wanted daughter and at Christmas Joel proposed to Fiona.

A new diagnosis showed that his cancer had come back and was more aggressive.  His mum and stepdad decided to bring their marriage forward and in March Josh was able to accompany his mum down the aisle, give her away and make a phenomenal speech!

In his last few weeks, he was initially nursed at home and he asked the MacMillan Nurse to buy him chips like they have at Francis House.

Following the ‘lockdown’ Josh was cared for by his family at home but following two or three visits by Francis House senior staff it was decided that his pain could be better controlled at Francis House.

A section of the Hospice was cordoned off and the whole family were able to stay and be with Josh supported by our staff.

Josh died surrounded by those that he loved on the 30th April 2020.  His funeral took place in the Francis House Chapel which was arranged so that some close friends could safely attend.

Josh was a remarkable young man, who worried about others more than himself.

The final words should go to his brother Alfie (aged 9) who wanted this to be read at his funeral:

“Josh was the best brother; he’d teach me how to play FIFA and let me have sleepovers in his room, but he always complained I snored too much – I miss my best friend.”

Alfie Lapi

The story of Josh’s wish to give his mum away featured in Cheshire Live.

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