For many people in hospital, they don’t have the privilege of regular visitors.
Yet one organisation is on a mission to combat loneliness and provide a little sunshine for people who fall ill and find themselves unable to connect with family or community.
Based in the Midlands, The Lewis Foundation give gift packages to adults having cancer treatment in hospitals and the community to bring comfort at a difficult time.
Set up by husband and wife duo Lorraine and Lee Lewis, they kickstarted their initiative after Lee’s mum was hospitalised with cancer at Northampton General Hospital.
The pair saw first-hand the fear, upset and loneliness faced by individuals undergoing treatment and were determined that their charity would make a real difference.
Back in 2016, they began sourcing donations, before going on to package and deliver the gifts to patients on oncology wards.
Fast-forward to today, and they have a team of 50 community volunteers delivering over 2,500 packages to seven hospitals in the Midlands per month – including Leicester Royal Infirmary, Luton & Dunstable Hospital, and Kettering Hospital.
Patients are invited to pick a gift of their choice from the touring trolley, with an impressive 32 different packs ranging from toiletries, puzzle books, and miniature radios.
Once the gift is selected, the volunteers then socialise with the patients.
Regrettably, the coronavirus pandemic has affected the process though. However, the team have learned to adapt by packaging gifts at home with the hospital staff now kindly handing them out to honour social distancing measures that are still currently in place.
The Lewis Foundation crew have also been making emergency packs for cancer patients who are self-isolating in the community, which are going down a treat.
One recipient said it brightened their day so much it made them “smile again”.
They said: “The gift is so kind and thoughtful. I have got such dry skin at the moment and the Aveeno spray and body wash has made my skin feel normal again.
“I have already started using the colouring book. It is so lovely to have something else to do besides watching TV. The gift box of cream and lip balm has made me feel lovely.
“Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I have been feeling a bit low this last week and today. You have really made me smile again and cheered me up so much.”
Hats off to the Lewis team, these guys deserve MBEs.