I was in Toronto all day today, running important errands. Now that’s not a big announcement. Lots of people go in to Toronto to run important errands, to shop or to just kick around for the day at the Ontario Science Centre or Toronto Island or the Royal Ontario Museum. But today, one of my errands was something pretty important.
I stopped by IndiePool with the “Dreamtime” master and the CD cover artwork in hand. For those of you who aren’t in the know about why the “Dreamtime Project” is so important, let me share with you some details.
Back in early 2010, Lewis asked me to help him raise awareness of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He asked me to help him help the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant wishes to other children living with life-threatening illnesses. He knows it takes a team of hard-working people to pull together what’s needed to grant a wish for a child or teen living with a life-threatening illness. And he knows that every bit of help donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation — whether it’s time, money, services, product — goes to a number of very good causes: granting wishes to special kids like him.
If you don’t know who Lewis is, let me share a little about him as well. He’s an award winning teen, having won four prestigious awards over the past 2 years alone: the 2009 Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board Medal of Perseverance; the 2009 Trent University Community Leader Award for Youth Aged 25 and Younger; the 2010 Male Youth Volunteer of the Year Award; and the 2011 Mayor’s Youth Award. As he likes to tell people, he’s a professional kid with cool ideas. And he’s a young man with lots of heart and compassion. Yes, Lewis has a lot going for him. Every one who meets him soon finds out that they can’t help but get involved in his projects. But there’s more to Lewis than meets the eye!
He is afflicted with Myasthenia Gravis, an incurable life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease that strikes 2 in one million children. He also has Autism Spectrum Disorder and a raft of other diagnosed disabilities and disorders. And he’s a Make-A-Wish Kid himself.
Together, we created the “Dreamtime Project” made up of four components: a Special Edition CD; a signed Special Edition print of the artwork for the CD cover painted by Lewis; a Flash Mob Dance; and a dance performance to the music from the Special Edition CD.
In all, it was a very ambitious vision. It was also Lewis’ wish that we make this happen and so we set about to make this happen. You see, for Lewis, making others happy makes him happy and he wants other kids like him with special wishes to have the opportunity to have those special wishes granted.
Lewis has a unique way of painting that I’ve never really seen any other artist master before. He abhors traditional paint brushes, preferring to use his fingers and thumbs, the palm or side of his hand, sponges and indelible fine line black markers to create. Not only did he paint new works but he looked through earlier canvasses to see if the CD cover was among the many tableaux and art sheets that can be found throughout the house. In the end, he settled on “A Sunday Afternoon Stroll Under The Sea” also known as “Undersea Stroll.”
As I stepped into the offices at IndiePool, I knew that IndiePool’s Trevor Norris wouldn’t be around this afternoon. He had called at lunchtime to let me know that he had a horrible cold. Over the past few months, Lewis’ health has deteriorated and it’s been difficult for his medical team to determine what his symptoms mean. That Trevor would be so thoughtful as to think about the dangers of possibly passing his cold on to me and then indirectly passing his cold on to Lewis, only shows how much people really do care about others. And so, I met with Lindsay Casey instead and in no time, everything was in place and good to go.
Coming back home, I thought about the support Lewis and I have gotten from IndiePool for various projects over the years and smiled. I felt that wonderful feeling you get when you know you and everyone else involved in a project are bringing their best efforts to the table.
And I smiled again as I thought about how happy Lewis is because I agreed to grant him this different special wish … the wish to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant wishes to other children.
The Special Edition “Dreamtime” CD with Lewis’ artwork on the cover goes on sale on Wednesday, August 4, 2011 as do 100 signed Special Edition prints of the CD cover artwork. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CDs and Prints are being donated by Lewis and me to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
What he’s hoping for most is that people from around the world will join him in making this wish … this dream he has for other children … come true. What I’m hoping for is that other children’s wishes will be granted because of this project and I’m hoping that Lewis’ wish to raise awareness and money to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation comes true.