Ryan Lewis, one part of the Grammy-winning rap duo Macklemore & Lewis, has revealed his mother's 30-year battle with HIV; calling her "the strongest woman I know."
Lewis, 26, says his mother contracted the disease from a blood transfusion during the delivery of his older sister. "When she was finally diagnosed, she was given only a few years to live," he writes. "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."
"Our family is raising funds to build health centers worldwide that will stand strong for at least thirty years," he writes on the official fundraising site. "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."
Lewis intends to build the first health center at a cost of $100,000 in a region of Malawi; where an estimated one in ten people are HIV+. Four additional centers throughout Africa are also planned - with a goal to provide access to comprehensive healthcare for over 600,000 people.
"I am asking you to join my family and see how far we can take this," he adds.
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