Gravesend dad recognised at national charity awards for fundraising inspired by son's illness
PUBLISHED: 14:52 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:52 04 December 2017
A dad has been celebrated for raising thousands of pounds for charity, while caring for his baby son, who has a rare disease.
Lewis Brown, 31, of Gravesend, was a runner-up in the Shirley Nolan Special Recognition Award category at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards, held on Tuesday, November 28 at the House of Commons.
Lewis’s son Austin has been supported by the blood cancer charity, following his diagnosis of Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome when he was just four months old.
Austin, whose life expectancy had been estimated as between eight and 14 years, received a life-saving stem cell transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and has now celebrated his first birthday.
“If you ever saw him you’d never know he had a transplant,” said Lewis. “He is remarkably better, it’s unbelievable: he’s amazed the doctors. He’s a fighting spirit and an inspiration.
“I hadn’t heard of Anthony Nolan and that’s what really spurred me on to raise awareness and funds for the charity. I just thought the more people I can put in touch with the register and charity, the more of a chance there would be for Austin and others to get a match by adding to the overall pool of donors.”
Lewis, who runs his own business, organised a golf day in aid of the charity, assisted by three friends. The 72-hole event ran from 6.15am to 8.45pm and raised more than £5,000. He also spread awareness by sharing details of Austin’s progress on social media.
“Everyone I know that could sign up, has signed up. That was the prime focus of my event, to make more people aware of the register.
“Now, when I meet new people I’m not afraid to tell them of our battle and encourage others to learn about becoming a donor.”
The chief executive of Anthony Nolan, Henny Braund, said: “To have organised this challenging event, documented Austin’s progress on social media and supported his family is a remarkable feat.
“While many people support Anthony Nolan, enabling us to carry out our life-saving work, Lewis has shown dedication in helping to raise awareness of the charity and shine a spotlight on a very rare blood disorder.”
For more on the charity, visit anthonynolan.org.