Thu, 14 Mar 2019
A HEARTBREAKING video of Thatcham twins Lauren and Sophie Cripps holding their mother’s hand and singing her favourite song just hours before she died from a brain tumour has gone viral.
The clip, of the girls singing Kylie Minogue’s Dancing, has been shared by their father Lee Cripps to raise funds and awareness during Brain Tumour Awareness month. It has since been liked and shared thousands of times on social media and even Kylie Minogue herself sent a message after seeing it.
Our girls singing to their mummy, the day before she died. Alex died on 10th Jan 2019. Really want @kylieminogue to see this, to see how much her music means to us as a family and I would love for our girls to meet her. Please RT in the hope it reaches her. @BrainTumourOrg pic.twitter.com/8hckyH4UNm— Lee Cripps (@CocoPops) February 26, 2019
Alex Cripps was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014 after experiencing worsening head-aches.
Eventually a “tangerine-sized mass” was detected and she underwent three operations, as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She lost her battle at the age of 40 and died on January 10.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, Mr Cripps said that the family were Kylie fans and that the lyrics of the song ‘when I go out, I want to go out dancing’ were poignant as they had two meanings for his dance-loving wife and what she was experiencing.
He said: “The girls were practising that particular song for young voices at school. In theory she was still aware.
“I started videoing simply because it was a moment in time that I wanted captured. It’s the human side of it.
“They are both holding mummy’s hand and Sophie turns and says ‘sweaty hands’. It’s a pure human moment, nothing is off-limits.”
In a tweet, Kylie Minogue said: “Lee, thank you for sharing this tender moment of your girls singing to Alex. I’m so touched and so very sorry for your loss. Sending you and your girls lots of love.”
Lee, thank you for sharing this tender moment of your girls singing to Alex. I’m so touched and so very sorry for your loss. Sending you and your girls lots of love.— Kylie Minogue (@kylieminogue) February 26, 2019
The eight-year-old twins said that their mummy was “kind and nice” who “gave really good hugs” and were happy with the reaction the video had received.
The girls have received gifts from all over the world in a show of support and will be sending thank you cards to donators.
Mr Cripps, a technical service manager at Vodafone, set up a blog called Life Without Mummy shortly after his wife’s death to share the family’s experiences.
Speaking on the blog in reaction to the video, he said: “It’s pretty amazing, the power of social media.
“The feedback from many people who have either been affected or know somebody with a brain tumour is good.
“It raises money for the fund we set up in Alex’s name soon after she was diagnosed. We wanted to turn a negative into a positive.
“If it helps just one other family avoid the pain we have gone through then it’s worthwhile.”
Mr Cripps added: “Alex’s wish was to stay at home and not go to a hospice.
“She wanted to remain at home as long as she could and we could care for her. We pretty much spent 24/7 with Alex in those last days.
“Before the girls went to school they would read to mummy or sing.
“When they came home we’d do the same and try and be a normal family. I didn’t realise at the time that mummy would die the next day.”
Mrs Cripps was a former University of Reading marketing manager and teaching assistant at Spurcroft Primary School, where Sophie and Lauren attend.
Mr Cripps said his “very pretty and successful” wife had slowly deteriorated under the effects of the tumour.
He said: “In hindsight we could see the tumour robbed us of a great deal.
“Because it was a gradual decline, I never really took stock.
“We look back at old photos and events, you can see how much the tumour took away. She wanted to finish her open university degree.
“Her other life goal was she wanted to see the children go to school. She didn’t know if she was going to survive that long.
“She wanted her ashes scattered from a hot air balloon.
“She never had a bucket list because we did everything she wanted to do, only not go up in a hot air balloon, but she only told me that a week before she died.”
The family never asked for a prognosis, but since Mrs Cripp’s death, doctors said they would have given her two-and-a-half years.
“To have outlasted that by double, she did pretty well,” Mr Cripps said.
“For the girls, it’s just trying to stay as normal as possible.
“They have not missed a day of school apart from the funeral.
“We did everything that we could to prepare them.
“Cancer is not a banned word, tumour is not a banned word.”
Mr Cripps praised the work of the Newbury Cancer Care Trust and volunteer driver Brian Arnold.
“I knew I didn’t have to worry,” he said. “He refers to [Alex] now as an extra daughter.”
Make a donation to the Alex Cripps Fund by clicking here.