Julie Lewis | Founder of 30/30 Project
Bailarín Cellars celebrates those who do what they love. Their passion for life is unstoppable and their enthusiasm is infectious. We celebrate these "dancers" in our hero feature and learn from their words of wisdom.
This month we celebrate Julie Lewis, founder of the 30/30 Project, who dedicates her life work towards improving access to healthcare worldwide.
WHAT MAKES YOU DANCE?
“Using my influence to pay it forward makes me dance."
For me, the past few years have been all about paying it forward. Although I have had struggles in my life, it has never been more clear to me how fortunate I am to be alive. Now it’s my turn to give back and make sure that others have the same opportunities.
Let me back up a little. In 1984, the complicated labor and delivery of my oldest daughter Teresa resulted in my need for a blood transfusion. At the time, I didn’t think much about this normal procedure and went home with a beautiful baby girl. Unfortunately, I later learned that the blood I received was infected with HIV. By the time I was diagnosed in 1990, I had three small children and was given only five years to live.
Today, over 32 years later, I am still HIV positive and living a healthy life due in large part to the excellent medical care and prescription drug access I have had in Washington State. I spend a lot of days chasing my young grandchildren around Seattle — a privilege I never dreamed of when I was diagnosed. I recognize that not everyone has the same opportunity to live their most healthy life and I am passionate about using my diagnosis to improve access to affordable healthcare in areas around the world that need it the most. "Using my influence to pay it forward makes me dance."
Two years ago my family and I started the 30/30 Project, an initiative dedicated to building 30 medical facilities in communities around the world that lack access to healthcare. In partnership with Construction for Change and the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis team, we have completed the construction of five healthcare buildings in four different countries. Since our start, we have seen women, children and families in Africa and India gain access to affordable healthcare, enabling them to live happy healthy lives.
My dream is to share the family legacy with my grandchildren so they can see the 30 medical facilities that will be built as a result of the 30/30 project. Seeing these clinics open and witnessing the impact that they have in the local communities “truly makes me dance.”