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. 17-year-old Lewis Hine is a global phenomenon. Diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour and water on the brain at 17 months, he wasn't expected to survive. But Lewis proved everyone wrong; he's not only surviving but thriving. In one Facebook post on his 16th birthday Lewis invited everyone to see how he faces head on the challenges from his ongoing illness, and he went viral. 30 million views later, Lewis now spearheads a campaign, Friend Finder, to make sure no one ever faces childhood illness alone. In his memoir, Lewis reaches out to anyone who may feel isolated in their lives. After 13 brain surgeries and continual health problems, life for Lewis is a daily challenge. From the sheer physical challenges - he is at high risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and has a pump in his brain just to keep him alive - to the horrendous bullying he's endured, he shares how he finds the strength to overcome all this and still lead a fun and fulfilling life. With a host of admirers around the world from Elton John to Kid Ink, Lewis is living his dream - even becoming Radio 1's Teen Hero of the Year. His story will make you laugh, cry and above all, feel inspired by life's endless possibilities, looking at the stars.
Lewis Hine is a social media phenomenon, racking up millions of views as he bravely invites the world to see life through his eyes. He is a 16-year-old disability campaigner, and in 2016 won the BBC Radio 1 'Teen Hero of the Year' award. He also gave a talk to 10,000 enraptured children at Wembley Stadium, and has a CBBC documentary about his organization, Friend Finder, which brings potentially isolated disabled and ill children together.
I love what Lewis has done with his life, it's so inspiring to hear. Giving him his Radio 1 Teen Hero award on stage at Wembley made me very proud, and hearing how loud the crowd screamed just showed what people thought of the amazing work he's doing. I saw first-hand the incredible things he is creating with Friend Finder when we worked on the prom together. Lewis is changing people's lives and he's a true teen hero.
To be comfortable in your skin was the biggest topic for me because I'm somebody who's always judged just by how I look. Lewis is showing the world it's OK to be different and that disabilities and personalities make the world colourful. Lewis said I'm his hero, well, he's mine. He is so young and going through so much just to stay alive and yet he gives his everything to help others and make a positive impact in the world. Keep fighting Lew.
To me, in this day and age when we have so much bad news, it's so wonderful to see someone so young doing something so brave and so wonderful. It teaches us all a lesson. It's just really inspirational.
Lewis continues to do incredible things in his life and constantly proves that one person can make all the difference in other people's lives, and for that I (and everyone else) am forever grateful.
Lewis is a true inspiration for us all to remember to never give up on our hopes and dreams - stay positive and keep fighting! I feel very honoured to support Lewis with this book that also raises awareness of epilepsy.
Jennie Jacques (Queen Judith in Vikings)