The Lewis Foundation
Our charity visits hospitals around the Midlands providing patients with a choice of gift to pick from our wish list for free during cancer treatment. Gifts range from puzzle books to care packs. Once a patient receives a gift, we then spend time with people. The aim is to provide a distraction during treatment, give people something to look forward to and spend time with people to help reduce loneliness.
Our mission statement
Provide comfort and happiness to all adults going through cancer treatment in hospital.
Free gift packs
At The Lewis Foundation we source, package and hand deliver free gift packs to adult cancer patients in hospitals in the East Midlands and the community weekly. These are items that patients might find difficult to buy themselves or simply cannot afford – and that brings people happiness and comfort at a difficult time. For many people in hospital and the community, our volunteers are their only regular visitors.
Lorraine and Lee (charity founders) were so moved when Lee's mum was hospitalised with cancer at Northampton General Hospital that it led them to set up a charity. Recognising the fear, upset and loneliness faced by individuals undergoing cancer treatment and their loved ones, they were determined that their charity would make a real difference. They sourced donations, packaged and delivered gifts for patients on oncology wards. That was April 2016 – when The Lewis Foundation was born. Today with a team of almost 50 community volunteers (70% being their beneficiaries) and community supporters, The Lewis Foundation has grown from delivering 80 gift packs to one hospital, to delivering over 2,500 to seven hospitals in the Midlands per month. They are Bedford Hospital, Northampton General Hospital, BMI Three Shires – Northampton, Milton Keynes University Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Luton & Dunstable Hospital and Kettering Hospital.
How it works in the hospital, is that patients pick a gift pack of their choice from our gift trolley and there are 32 different packs to pick from. Packs range from toiletries, puzzle books and miniature radios. Once the gift is received, we then spend time with people to reduce loneliness. Our charity since the coronavirus pandemic.
Adults are having to go through cancer treatment alone during this challenging period of self-distancing, and that’s why it’s more important than ever for us to continue to deliver our free gifts and support packs to patients in hospitals and the community.
The whole reason we started The Lewis Foundation four years ago was because we wanted to make a real difference. It can be a sad, frightening and lonely experience for individuals undergoing cancer treatment, especially during this pandemic when their loved ones can’t be with them.
We have been overwhelmed by the support and donations still being made to us and are delighted that we have been able to continue our services against all the odds. Local businesses and supermarkets have been even more supportive than ever during this time, contributing items for our gift bags as well as making monetary donations which is incredible – especially when their stores have been stripped of essentials recently.
Like all charities, we have had to adapt our processes. We can’t use our warehouse at the moment, so our own home has become a temporary stockroom piled high with donations. We can no longer host our weekly packing sessions, so a small number of volunteers now pack gift bags in their own homes which are then collected to be delivered. We’ve also created alternative drop off points to minimise social contact and have been working very closely with all our hospitals to adjust the way we deliver the support packs to the wards. The hospital staff now kindly hand them out for us and we have been giving them care packages to for the amazing work they do.
We have also been making up emergency packs for cancer patients who are self-isolating in the community, which we have never done before.
We have received lots of messages from people during the Covid-19 outbreak – here are a few:
“The Lewis Foundation delivered an amazing pack of goodies to my door this evening with items I cannot get out to buy myself. We are so lucky to have such lovely people in this world.”
“My dad had to undergo his chemo treatment alone today but luckily the gift bag he received from The Lewis Foundation included puzzle books. Thank you so much for giving him much-needed distraction.”
“I have not been able to get anti-bacteria gel anywhere and need it more than ever because of my cancer treatment. I was so thrilled to see a bottle in my gift bag – it is very much appreciated.”