Owen Thompson, SNP MP for Midlothian, this week invited his fellow SNP MPs to salute Lewis Vaughan, who is devoting the last weeks of his life to a worldwide social media drive raising money and awareness for the Marie Curie Hospice in Fairmilehead.
Lewis, a 32-year-old from Leith who worked for Virgin Trains East Coast until his diagnosis, was diagnosed with testicular cancer, secondary lung cancer and brain tumours in April 2015. He was recently told by his doctors that he only has a short time left to live, and is currently being cared for in the Fairmilehead hospice. Lewis grew up in Midlothian and attended St David’s High School at its former site in Abbey Road, Dalkeith.
Inspired by Lewis’s sense of humour and his many cheeky selfies in hats – taken to cheer up those who know him – his friends helped launch a social media campaign to raise money for Lewis’s care, including buying him the electric wheelchair he needed. He asked that they continue the campaign to raise money and awareness for the hospice.
Thousands of people have joined the #LforLewis campaign on Facebook and Twitter, posting pictures of themselves wearing hats and forming an “L” with thumb and fingers, and challenging friends to do the same in addition to making donations. The selfies have gone viral and come in from around the world; campaign organisers say they have raised almost £5000 to date.
This week, Virgin Trains East Coast held a ceremony at Edinburgh Waverley station to dedicate a train in Lewis’s honour. Lewis, who attended even after falling ill earlier in the day, was surrounded by friends, colleagues and supportive onlookers and was visibly moved at the dedication. His train will operate on the East Coast Main Line for a month; rail passengers across the UK are encouraged to donate £1 to Marie Curie and post a picture of the train as it passes through their station.
To show support for Lewis and to raise awareness further, Owen Thompson and his fellow SNP MPs took time out of a recent Westminster meeting to be photographed, sharing their #LforLewis proudly.
Commenting on the MP’s efforts, Lewis said: “It’s great to see so many people getting involved in the campaign, I’m overwhelmed at the response so far.
“I’m sure this will help the campaign grow even further and raise even more money for Marie Curie.”
Owen Thompson, MP for Midlothian said:
“I am asking my friends and constituents to get involved with the #LforLewis campaign.
“Please share your #LforLewis on social media, and if you can, please make a donation to the Marie Curie Hospice via Lewis’s fundraising campaign.
“His bravery and good humour in the face of cancer are inspirational.”
Fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/Lewisvaughan
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1747942205429351/