General News

Ryan Lewis launches health centre fundraiser in honour of his HIV positive mother

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Apr 22, 2014 | 12:55pm EDT

Grammy Award-winning producer Ryan Lewis is spearheading a new fundraising campaign to build health centres around the world after opening up about his mother's health battle with HIV. The Same Love hitmaker is fronting a new promotional video for the 30/30 Project, which he has launched with his family and his rap collaborator Macklemore. In the six-minute promo, Lewis introduces fans to "the strongest woman that I know", his mother Julie, and his older sisters Teresa and Laura, as they go public with their story. Opening the clip, the star explains that Julie contracted the disease unknowingly after receiving a blood transfusion following the birth of her first child, Teresa, in 1984, but she wasn't diagnosed with the illness until the summer of 1990, two years after welcoming Lewis. Luckily, she did not pass on the virus to her two youngest children and, despite being told her chances of survival were slim, Lewis says, "Thanks to advanced medicine and healthcare available here in the U.S., my mum has lived despite her odds." He adds, "To honour the 30 years my mum has been a survivor, our family is raising funds to build health centres worldwide that will stand strong for at least 30 years. We're calling it the 30/30 Project." Lewis is now calling on fans to follow his lead and dig deep to help them reach their first goal of $100,000 (£62,500), which will cover the costs to open a health centre in Nsambe, Malawi, where one in 10 people are infected with HIV. He hopes supporters will continue to keep giving to fund at least four other medical facilities in Kenya and Uganda, which will be built in partnership with Construction for Change, a non-profit organisation based in his home of Seattle, Washington. In exchange for donations, Lewis is offering up a variety of gifts, including T-shirts, tote bags, signed Macklemore & Ryan Lewis posters and VIP concert tickets to an upcoming gig. The first phase of the Indiegogo.com campaign was launched on 22 April (14) and will run until 21 May (14). As WENN went to press, more than $8,500 (£5,313) of the $100,000 target had been raised. Lewis first revealed his mother was HIV positive in a Rolling Stone interview last summer (13), during which he revealed the lawsuit over the transfusion put him through college.

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