After Lee’s Mum, Janice Lewis was diagnosed in 2010 with cancer; the hospital became their home for the next 4 years. The following years threw them challenges upon challenges, including Lee’s Grandmother passing away in April of 2012, Lee’s Dad passing away 6 months later, followed by flood damage to their home whereby they loss near enough everything.
As they describe, they were at “rock bottom”. The loss of everything placed life into perspective. Despite life’s challenges and after some thought on the realities of cancer and how tough it was physically, emotionally and financially, they knew there was something they could do to make life easier and happier for patients in hospital.
In 2016, ‘The Lewis Foundation’, was set up with the idea of giving free gift packs to patients, which they loved without a worry of how it will be paid for. With the help of their team of four volunteers, the end of 2018 would see ‘The Lewis Foundation’ delivering 10,000 presents to patients in different hospitals with gifts ranging from portable radios, pamper packs to blankets.
Through the toughest times in their life, they identified a need and created something incredibly positive. ‘The Davi Magazine’ interviewed Lee and Lorraine, Founders of ‘The Lewis Foundation’ to find out what encourages them to give, do more and how you can too!
Hi Lee and Lorraine, how are you both feeling today?
Lee: I am feeling good as we are about to accept an award from the Mayor called 'The Heart of Northampton Awards' for our charity work. I feel proud that our charity will be recognised in this way.
Lorraine: I am great thank you. I have a day off, so i'm catching up on some Charity Work. Then, I am looking forward to attending the 'Heart of Northampton Awards' where our charity will be presented with an award from the Mayor of Northampton. We were nominated by members of the community to receive this award for our work, so I am really excited for this evening.
Congratulations on your hard work! We can see that you are both making such a positive change in the world.
As well as identifying what needs to be changed and taking action. What motivates you Lee and Lorraine to continue to do more?
"Seeing people smile once
they receive a gift pack and spending time with them, motivates me to want to see other people feel the same way."
- Lee Lewis
I love that I am doing something good to help others and that it will make a difference to them and their families.
Lorraine: I am the same as Lee. Knowing how happy it makes people feel is my driving factor. I wish I could bottle up and share the happy feeling created by the work we are doing.
"Every time I give a gift
and make someone happy,
it makes me feel like the happiest
person in the world"
- Lorraine Lewis
You have both managed to achieve so much by helping so many patients in such a short space of time. In 2017 alone, you provided 3325 gift packs alone. Can you name us 3 things you have been certifiably, insanely proud about from the beginning of 2018?
1 We are just about to start at hospital number 5 in Bedford. This is an amazing achievement to be asked to provide our service at this hospital. Never did we think 2 years ago, when we had the idea of giving gift packs that we would be giving more than 80 packs a month to 1 ward in Northampton General Hospital. We will now be covering 3 counties – Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, giving us the opportunity to help more people and provide more support to others.
2 Being told we are finalists for the National New Business Award “Charity of The Year” Awards, was a shock. For people in the business industry on a national basis also believing what we are doing is a good thing, has been amazing. We are so proud of what we have achieved with the help of our community.
3 I know we have already mentioned it but winning the Northampton Heart of The Community Awards was an incredible feeling. The fact that our town value the work we are doing and making a difference to others has been the best feeling in the world. We are so grateful to the community for being right behind us in helping make a difference to others.
We have seen ‘The Lewis Foundation’ has got what looks like an amazing event approaching called ‘The Pretty Muddy 5K Family’ taking place at Abington Park, Northampton, at the beginning of June, which will be full of muddy obstacles in support of Cancer Research.
How can we join ‘The Lewis Foundation Pink Army’ and what can we look forward to and expect on the day?
Pretty Muddy is so much fun! It's all about coming together to remember the people we have lost and the ones currently facing cancer. There are lots of obstacles and plenty of mud. It may not sound fun, but just watch our video from last year to see how much fun you can have.
We currently have a team of 20, who are all going to stick together and complete this to the end. If you want to join us you can do so by visiting the site here.
How do you believe Millennials can help to make the world a better place?
With so much negativity in the news it is hard to think that you can do something to make the world a better place. However, anyone can make a difference no matter how old you are, your background or your earnings!
Everyone has something they sit there and think, how can we make this situation better and how can we make a difference. However, you may feel you can’t afford it, you don’t have time and who really would be interested. You would be surprised how easy it is to do. You may not have the money, but if you wanted to make someone happy you could write them a letter to make them smile. We have people do this for our gift packs as a way they feel they can make a difference.
You may not feel like you have the time, but you could example send a tweet about something you are passionate about to encourage others to support you. That few minutes taken to do that can make a difference to the individual or organisation you want to support.
You may not have much money, but if you had a £1 and you brought someone a coffee who may be homeless imagine the difference that would make to someone’s day.
It only takes small acts of kindness to make a difference to others, but these acts creates ripple effects, which makes a difference to others in the world.
Giving does not have to be of any monetary value. How would you encourage others to give no matter how big or small?
We would encourage people to find something that they are passionate about. When you are passionate about something that will make a difference to others people will believe in you and want to find a way to support what you are doing. Show the impact of what you are doing and the difference it will have to the recipient. Show examples of acts of kindness that are free, the costs a little, that takes little time etc. That way people can see how easy it is to get involved. People will see it is not difficult to do something to make a difference and will be encouraged to give to others.
We have seen this with our charity. Sometimes people do not want to give money, but they want to give an item instead such as magazine. This has led to people having collection drives for items for our gift packs in schools, businesses and amongst families. Some people can’t buy products or give items, so they help us make the gift packs. It is about finding ways so that anyone can get involved with the work you are doing.
Where do you envision ‘The Lewis Foundation’ in, let’s say 5 years from now? What is your ultimate goal?
To keep growing throughout the UK and reach as many hospitals as possible. Now we know the need and demand for our gift packs are there, we now plan to provide our service to as many people as possible.
And, if you could leave us with one of your most inspiring quotes before you go. One you live by daily, what would it be and why?
“One of the greatest
gifts you can give is your time."
This is something we value and we could have not achieved as much as we have, without so many people giving up their time to help us. We are so thankful for them.
You can keep up-to-date with ‘The Lewis Foundation’ on twitter, on Facebook, and on Instagram, where you can find their great work and latest events.
‘The Lewis Foundation Pink Army’ will be at Northampton on Saturday 2nd June 2018 in support of Cancer research UK, Race for Life.
You can purchase tickets here