Following a breakout year of Grammy awards and chart-topping singles, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are using their elevated platform to spread awareness for a good cause. The duo are speaking out about the 30/30 Project – created by Lewis' mother, Julie – which aims to create worldwide healthcare facilities in communities impacted by HIV/AIDS. The program also hopes to offer comprehesensive general healthcare.
Julie Lewis, a 30-year HIV survivor, contracted the virus in 1984 from a blood transfusion after giving birth to Ryan's older sister, Teresa, and went undiagnosed for several years. Despite facing a 25 percent chance of contracting the disease, neither Ryan nor his sister Laura were born with HIV.
The 30/30 project has launched with an IndieGoGo campaign — coinciding with Wednesday's 30th anniversary of the discovery that the HIV virus leads to AIDS — that is looking to raise $100,000 by May 21st. The project's ultimate aim is to build medical facilities that will last for at least 30 years, aiding individuals without access to proper treatment. With help from Construction for Change, who will construct the new medical facilities, the project's immediate goal is to create five facilities, beginning with one in the African nation of Malawi; that facility will be staffed with healthcare providers from Partners in Health.
In a new video released in conjunction with the campaign, the Lewis family reflected on their struggle and the project's vision.
"I want to do something big," Julie says in the clip. The 30/30 Project is that big idea. We believe that healthcare is a human right. We have the knowlege, and we have the treatments. Life-threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS can be managed. What people need is access."
"With this amazing past year that I've had, I'm honored to be the first donor to the 30/30 Project," says Ryan. "I'm hoping people will join me, and join my family's story, to see how far we can take this."