724. Lewis Hine
Lewis Hine founded 'Friend Finder' which is bringing together young people with chronic illness so that they can forge strong and lasting friendships.
Lewis, from Portsmouth, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just 17 months old and now copes with drug resistant epilepsy, hydrocephalus and seizures. Having experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to enjoy a social life during and after treatment, he decided to set up ‘Friend Finder’, which has so far helped over 200 young people make new friends.
On his 16th birthday earlier this year, Lewis posted a video about the project on Facebook, which has been viewed over 30 million times.
In June, Lewis held a ‘Friend Finder Prom’, for young people who missed their school proms due to illness or disability.
In a personal letter to Lewis, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You are changing lives through ‘Friend Finder’ and the ‘Friend Finder Prom’, helping to build a supportive social network for young people living with illness or disability. Your work has inspired millions, and has done much to raise awareness of the loneliness faced by young people battling long term illness.”
“I started ‘Friend Finder’ as I know too well how lonely and isolating living with a long-term illness feels. I had no idea how many children like me were out there and how successful it would be. To be told that not only has the Prime Minister heard about me and ‘Friend Finder’ but that she has also chosen me for a Points of Light award is amazing. I hope that being a Points of Light winner will help more people hear about Friend Finder so I can help even more children who feel alone make friends.”