By Kevin Rutherford
“Yes, I’m grateful that I lived,” Julie Lewis, who is HIV positive, says. “But I want to do something to honor all those people that we love dearly who died along the way.”
That was the story Wednesday morning (April 23) on CBS This Morning as Lewis and son Ryan– the production arm of rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis— gave their first on-camera interview since announcing their support of the 30/30 Project, an organization seeking to build worldwide health clinics to tackle disease, yesterday.
Julie Lewis has been HIV positive for 30 years after receiving a blood transfusion in 1984 from a donor that was had the condition. Originally, she was given three to five years to live.
“And I remember being—having periods of fear almost, that fear that your mom’s just going to kind of be gone,” Ryan Lewis says of the period around his mother’s harrowing discovery. He was only six years old at the time.
The 30/30 Project, which has launched an Indiegogo campaign for $100,000, plans to build its first clinic in Malawi– particularly near a village where a high concentration of adults have HIV or AIDS but currently have to walk two hours down a mountain to receive care.
“If that community stays healthy that means that the parents stay healthy,” Julie Lewis says. “And if the parents stay healthy they can earn a living. And if they’re earning a living then those children can go to school.”
The producer adds that without his worldwide fame as part of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, this might not be possible. “It’s pretty amazing for me that my family could have this story, my mom could go through all of this and it could come to this point that I could use sort of the platform that’s been provided to invest my time and energy into something that is just really positive,” he says.
Click below to watch the full interview with Julie and Ryan Lewis, via CBS correspondent Ben Tracy.