Ryan Lewis has revealed that his mom, Julie Lewis, has lived with HIV for 30 years.
The musician – half of the Grammy-winning duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – shared his mom’s story in a video posted on their website Tuesday. And to celebrate her survival, he and his family are raising money to build health centers around the world that will benefit others living with the virus.
The video outlines plans for the project, called 30/30, which celebrates his mother’s 30-year success story and their hope that the health centers they build will help others for at least 30 years.
“A huge part of what’s made me who I am is something I haven’t talked about in interviews,” Lewis says in the video. “I’d love to tell you about the strongest woman that I know, my mom Julie Lewis.”
Lewis goes on to explain that his mother contracted the virus from a blood transfusion in 1984 following complications from childbirth. She did not discover that she was HIV-positive until after her two other children, including Ryan, were born.
Though she did not pass the virus to her children, Julie was told she had only a few years to live.
“I was infected with HIV 30 years ago,” Julie says. “I never thought that 30 years later, I would be sitting here talking to you.”
“I want to do something big,” she says. “The 30/30 Project is that big idea.”
The project’s initial goal is to raise $100,000 for the first health center in Malawi. Donations are being accepted on the project’s website.