Inspiring British teen Lewis Hine talks living with disability in Tuoi Tre interview

A British teenager captured the hearts of millions on social media after posting a video clip sharing the story of his fight against a brain tumor. The inspiring teen granted an exclusive interview to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Lewis Hine (R) during a meeting with Prince William

A British teenager has captured the hearts of millions on social media after posting a video clip sharing the story of his fight against a brain tumor. The inspiring teen granted an exclusive interview to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Lewis Hine, a 16-year-old from Portsmouth City, England, has suffered from a brain tumor, accompanied by drug-resistant epilepsy and hydrocephalus, since he was 17 months old.

Since his diagnosis, Hine has undergone 13 surgeries, though he still experiences seizures on a daily basis.

Despite his disability, he refuses to back down in the face of adversity and works to inspire the disabled youth community in England by keeping an optimistic point of view on his illness.

To help others living with disabilities, Lewis founded Friend Finder – a charity project that connects children who miss a lot and of school and helps them beat loneliness and isolation.

Lewis’s inspiring video was posted to his Facebook page on his 16th birthday (March 17) and has since garnered over 30 million views, 700,000 shares, and mentions by BBC, the NZHerald, and other reputable news publications worldwide.

Tuoi Tre managed to arrange an exclusive interview with Hine.

Congratulations! You just got a call from Sir Elton John? How did that make you feel?

It was an amazing feeling and a moment I will never forget. Sir Elton John said he saw my video on the BBC News website and was overwhelmed by what I was trying to do to help other disabled children. He wanted to call and say that he was proud of me.

Could you describe your daily routine? Which activity of the day you love most?

My daily routine starts by being woken up by my mom, an activity which she says takes ages.

If I’ve had a lot of seizures at night, it can be difficult to wake me up because I’m often very tired with frequent headache or sore limbs.

My mother then takes me to school, which is a 45 minute drive from my house. I have 1 on 1 support at school to keep me safe incase I have a seizure.

After school I work on the Friend Finder project before having dinner.  Sometimes I play on the Xbox or just relax with my two sisters, Jessica and Chloe.

I never know when I might have a seizure.  After a seizure I have to use a wheelchair due to exhaustion.

In your video you said “Being disabled is not a bad thing, don’t let it stop you wanting to do things in life.” Could you share a bit more?

Being disabled is not easy. It is not only challenging physically but mentally as well. Staying positive and not feeling sorry for yourself is as much of a challenge as our illness or disability.

Life starts to become colorful and fun when we realize that the disability just means we have to be creative about our abilities.

Our disability makes us interesting and colorful because we can see life in a way that others cannot.

You also said “And now I finally feel like I am living.” Could you explain a bit more about this?

The internet and social media play a big part in modern society, but it cannot replace of the feeling of meeting people face to face.

It would be easy to just sit at home and play Xbox all day, but even though it is fun it can actually be very isolating.

It is very important to interact with others because, after all, that is what makes us feel human.

It is undeniable that you are unique and determined, but are there other teens you meet that inspire you? What did you learn from him/her?

The reason I keep going is because of the inspiring teenagers I meet every day.

The ones that smile despite being in pain, the ones that play jokes on me by removing their artificial limbs. The amazing teenagers who keep fighting and smiling despite their disabilities are my inspiration.

What is your definition of happiness?

My definition of happiness is finding a reason to smile everyday, no matter what that reason may be.

Do you have any idol?

My idol is my mom because she taught me not to give up. She helped me find something I was good at and that made me happy.

What do you want to become in the future?

I would like to create a global network of disabled children working together to not only support each other but to make the world a better place.

Your birthday video clip on FB gains nearly 30 million views and 700,000 shares.  Your story was also covered on internationally known publications like BBC and The Sun.  Did you ever think that would happen?

I had no idea my birthday video would be so successful. I thought making a short video about what I have been through and the work I have been doing would be a good way to celebrate my birthday.

It turned out to be the best birthday ever.  Nearly 30 million people around the world took the time to watch my video and wish me a happy birthday.

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