Lewis Hine is in many ways much like any other teenage boy. He likes football and music. He spends time playing his video games at his home in England.
However, there are a few things about Lewis Hine that are not so similar to every other #teenager.
When Lewis was just over one years old he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Since then, he has undergone 13 brain surgeries in his fight for survival.
As well as the multiple surgeries, Lewis has undergone many treatments and spends much of his life in hospital. He suffers from water on the brain, known as hydrocephalus, and has a mechanical pump, called a shunt, in his brain to help.
Lewis also suffers from almost daily seizures due to having a drug-resistant form of epilepsy. He requires 24-hour care.
On his 16th birthday, Lewis posted a video about his experiences that has gone viral and been viewed over 4 million times.
In the heartfelt video, Lewis asks that viewers share the video to help celebrate his birthday and show the world that it’s okay to be different.
Lewis becomes a Friend Finder
Being a teenager at high school can be difficult enough for most people. With severe medical problems and missing school due to hospitalisations, it’s not surprising that Lewis found school very challenging and felt “isolated and alone”.
Yet Lewis didn’t let his isolation and loneliness stop him. Instead, he took his experiences and used them as inspiration to help others, founding the organisation Friend Finder.
Friend Finder aims to connect children all over the UK who are missing out on school and social activities due to suffering from long-term illnesses.
In June 2017 they will host their very first event: a prom for students who were too ill to attend their own school’s prom.
Lewis Hine concludes the video with this message “My illness may define the length of my life, but it won’t define how I live it. My disability gave me the ability to understand and help others. And now I finally feel like I am living.”
You can view the video below.