Ryan Lewis and his entire family took a step towards raising HIV awareness when they recently revealed that his mother, Julie Lewis, has lived HIV-positive for 30 years. He and his family put together a really informative video to shed light on her struggle, and he explained how she contracted the virus back in 1984 while receiving a blood transfusion to help her through the complicated delivery of his older sister, Teresa.
“In 1984, my mom gave birth to my older sister, Teresa. Due to a complicated delivery, she needed a blood transfusion and at that moment, my mom had HIV+ blood put into her body. When she was finally diagnosed, she was given only a few years to live.”
Julie Lewis was 25 when she contracted the disease, just a year younger than Ryan Lewis is now. She wasn’t informed of her HIV status until years later after she had already given birth to both Ryan and his sister Laura, having not taken the proper medications to minimize the possibility of passing the HIV onto her children. Ryan and Laura were extremely lucky to have dodged that bullet, as neither of them were born with HIV.
While Julie was informed by doctors that they projected she only had a few more years to live, she has managed to thrive for 30 long years despite living with the virus.
To honor the 30 years that Julie has remained an HIV survivor, she, Ryan, and their entire family created the 30/30 Project, which hopes to raise funds in order to build health centers all over the world that can provide healthcare for anyone suffering from HIV, and all other illnesses in general. They’ve united with Construction for Change and Partners in Health in this journey towards hopefully making a positive change in the lives of many less-fortunate individuals worldwide. As you could imagine, Ryan’s long-time friend and partner in musical success, Macklemore, has also joined the Lewis family’s efforts in bringing the 30/30 Project to life.
The first phase of the project is seeking donations with the goal of raising $100,000 to build a health center in Nsambe, Malawi. While Ryan Lewis has already contributed to the donations, he and Macklemore are offering gifts to donors in the form of various merchandise such as special t-shirts, signed vinyl copies of their hit, “The Heist,” and VIP concert tickets, among other things.
Since Lewis made the announcement via YouTube a couple of days ago, it has already raised $51,653 and counting. It doesn’t look like it’ll be long before the 30/30 Project makes a truly positive change in the world. Watch Ryan Lewis’ mother’s story and the announcement of the 30/30 Project, above.
If you would like to make donations to the 30/30 Project, click here or visit indiegogo.com.