Lewis wins NHS Heroes Award

The determined teenager, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a baby and has had 13 brain surgeries, made it his mission to make sure every child has a friend.

Lewis Hine
Credit: www.lewishine.co.uk Picture courtesy of Philip Haynes
Awarded at the NHS Heroes Awards on Monday, Lewis took home the Special Recognition award. Lewis, now 17, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just 17 months old. He has had numerous brain surgeries as well as other operations and treatments. He also suffers with hydrocephalus and drug-resistant epilepsy. Lewis spends much of his time in hospital and faces daily seizures and pain. However, two years ago he set about making sure every child has a friend. He knew this was difficult having spent so much time on hospital wards himself. The NHS Heroes Award website said of Lewis: ‘Every time he returned to school, he found that his group of mates had moved on. “I never got invited to birthday parties or to anyone’s house after school,” he says. “I felt isolated and alone.” His mum, Emma, adds: “He used to say: ‘I wish there were two Lewises and I was the one that wasn’t ill.” ‘Lewis decided to help bring together other poorly kids who might feel lonely, and built the charity Friend Finder Official. Through fortnightly events such as wheelchair basketball and pizza nights, he’s helped more than 200 sick and disabled children who struggle to make friends come together.’

Going viral

On Lewis’ 16th birthday he posted a video on Facebook to challenge the stereotypes around disability. He said: “People say I’m disabled as if it’s a bad thing, but I say I’m lucky. I know what my challenges are and I never take anything for granted. My illness might define the length of my life, but it won’t define how I live it.” The video went viral – it has over 30 million views – and even Sir Elton John picked up the phone to tell Lewis how proud he was. Lewis said: “He was so proud to hear there was someone out there supporting children with disabilities and trying their hardest to make a difference." Donations flooded in so Lewis decided to organise a prom for sick children who had missed theirs. Last summer the teenager organised candy floss and popcorn machines, a red carpet and even prom dresses for the event. His mum Emma, said: “There were these incredible kids walking down the red carpet with breathing tubes, oxygen tanks and wheelchairs, and they were smiling and dancing as their mums cried with happiness. It’s so much more than a prom. It’s about making friends and realising that you’re not alone.” Lewis said: “I truly believe that having a friend is one of the essential things in life to help your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s important to talk, to smile and laugh.” Mum, Emma, couldn’t agree more. “What he is doing for other children is so special. I’m so, so proud of him.” The awards celebrate the work and the staff of the National Health Service as it turns is 70 years old. They were presented by ITV and the Mirror, airing on Monday 21 May 2018.
Share page
Print page
Follow us