Ryan Lewis Reveals His Mother is HIV-Positive, Joins Forces With Macklemore to Create Nonprofit


Ryan Lewis is letting the public in on one of the most personal aspects of his life.

The Grammy-award winning artist revealed that his mother is HIV-positive. He shared his story via his Twitter account, posting a pic with his mother, Julie Lewis, along with a link to a donation page for the 30/30 project, a nonprofit which he has founded with the help of Macklemore in order to raise money for affordable healthcare worldwide.

"A Message from Ryan Lewis" appears on the 30/30 project official page:

A huge part of what's made me who I am, is something I haven't talked about in interviews. If I could just take a few moments of your time, I'd love to tell you about the strongest woman that I know, my mom, Julie Lewis. 

In 1984, my mom gave birth to my older sister, Teresa. Due to a complicated delivery, she needed a blood transfusion and at that moment, my mom had HIV+ blood put into her body. When she was finally diagnosed, she was given only a few years to live. By that time, she had already given birth to my sister Laura and me. We each had a 25% chance of being born HIV+, but we were extremely fortunate (today, the risk of a mother passing HIV to her baby is 2% or less if she is taking medication). Thanks to advanced medicine and healthcare available here in the U.S., my mom has lived despite her odds. 

To honor the thirty years my mom has been a survivor, our family is raising funds to build health centers worldwide that will stand strong for at least thirty years. We're calling it the 30/30 Project.

We are partnering with Construction for Change, a Seattle-based nonprofit, to carry out construction. And we have local partners on the ground, such as Partners in Health, to run and operate the health facilities long-term. We want to give hope to women and families in other parts of the world who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare.

With this amazing past year I've had, I am honored to be the first donor for the 30/30 Project, jumpstarting the construction of the first health center in Malawi. I am asking you to join my family and see how far we can take this...

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The initial goal of the nonprofit is to raise $100,000 in order to build a health care center in Neno District, Malawi, with hopes of later opening clinics in areas such as Kangundo, Kenya; Mbita, Kenya and Ugenya, Kenya.

Donors will receive gifts based on their monetary donation (the signed Macklemore and Ryan Lewis set list is already sold out) and they are encouraged to spread the word via social media.

The dynamic duo--who won four Grammys, including Best New Artist--made headlines at the 56th Annual Award show during their performance of "Same Love" during which Queen Latifah officiated the marriages of 34 couples.

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The New York Times described the featured couples as "gay, straight, old, young, of many races and many colors." Among the group tying the knot include Lewis' sister Laura and her boyfriend Alex.

"A night that is already tremendous for me, for the music," Lewis said prior to the performance, "but to have my sister get married and my family there watching it--that makes it a whole other level of amazing."

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