Ryan Lewis may not talk about it much in the public sphere, but his mother was diagnosed with HIV back in the '80s — a state of affairs that greatly impacted his life. Now, it seems, it's time for Lewis and his mother to take that experience and make an impact of their own — a positive one.
Lewis' mother, Julie, is launching a new campaign this week to commemorate her 30-year victory over HIV as well as the 30th anniversary of the discovery that HIV leads to AIDS: the 30/30 Project.
The campaign, which both Ryan Lewis and Macklemore promote in the below video, aims to bring healthcare facilities to areas that need them the most. The goal is to create a network of HIV/AIDS treatment centers that will be around for at least 30 years. The first center is set to be built — along with Construction for Change — in Malawi.
Staff will be provided by Partners In Health and funds will be procured via IndieGoGo and donations from fans and followers.
"A huge part of what's made me who I am is something I haven't talked about in interviews," Lewis said in the video of his mother, for whom he has an AIDS ribbon tattooed on his arm.
Julie contracted HIV after getting a blood transfusion following the birth of Ryan's sister, Teresa. Luckily, neither Ryan nor his other sister Laura — born before Julie was diagnosed — were born with HIV.
Despite Julie Lewis' diagnosis, though, she persisted. "You know what's amazing? My mom never died. She lived," Lewis said.
The 30 years that Julie has spent with HIV have, in turn, been inspiring to the woman.
"I want to do something big," she said in a release. "The 30/30 Project is that big idea. We believe that healthcare is a human right. We have the knowledge and we have the treatments. Life threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS can be managed. What people need is access."