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I started Friend Finder when I was 14 years old. Like most 14 year olds I am interested in football, music, video games and just being a teenager but unlike most 14 year old’s I need 24hr support due to my long term illnesses and I spend a great deal of time in hospital. Staying in hospital isn't just challenging because of the medical treatment I have to have but it also means I miss a lot of time from school. Children quite naturally moan about having to go to school but they a don’t realise the amount they are actually learning. School is not just about education it is also about learning how to interact with other children and how to make and keep friendships.
Over the years I started to make friends but very time I made friends at school I would end up back in hospital. By the time I returned to school the friendship group had naturally moved on and I found himself having to start all over again. Things were tough, I never got invited to birthday parties or to anyone’s house after school for dinner or to just hang out and socialize.
It was a horrible feeling, I felt isolated and alone. I couldn't tell anyone about the experiences I had been through both good and bad as I didn't have any friends that I could talk to.
I was only 17 months old when I was first diagnosed with a Brain Tumour. I have been battling with illness ever since. I have had over 13 brain surgeries amongst other surgeries and treatments. . I also suffer with hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which is treated with a mechanical pump in my brain called a 'shunt' and also drug resistant epilepsy which makes life very challenging for me.
I know that my condition cannot be cured, but I am not letting anything stop me from helping other children that are experiencing the same thing as me which is why I founded Friend Finder. I truly believe that having a Friend is one of the essential things in life that everyone needs to help your physical and mental wellbeing, its important to talk, to smile and laugh. There are over 1 million children in the Uk that miss school as they have a long term illness. If Friend Finder could help just 1% of those children find a friend then that would be amazing! To date friend finder has helped over 200 children make friends so we are definitely on our way!
Friend Finder started with me but with everyone's support and help we can help children make friends all over the world. #friendfinder #lewishine
Picture Courtesy of Philip Haynes