Brave Jarrow boy creates ‘friendship bags’ for poorly children

Jack Lewis, who was born with medical conditions, came up with the wonderful idea to cheer up children staying in hospital.

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Jack Lewis, came up with the heart-warming idea on his own to help children who may be facing similar struggles he has faced.

A brave young boy from Jarrow has created special gift bags for poorly children currently staying at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) named ‘Friendship Bags of Hope’.

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10-year-old Jack Lewis, was born with an exomphalos major, meaning that his bowel, liver and stomach were on the outside of his body.

Jack’s condition meant that he has had to undergo countless surgeries and has been in hospital over 50 times, which has left the young boy in chronic pain.

Jack’s mother Sarah said: “We nearly lost him a couple of times.”

Sarah explained that Jack is still continuously in and out of hospital as he now has a chronic bowel condition and functional abdominal pain syndrome.

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Despite all of Jack’s struggles and pain, he keeps a smile on his face and is always looking for ways to help other children who may be facing similar illnesses.

Heroic Jack began fundraising for children staying at Newcastle’s RVI and other wards he himself has stayed on.

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Previously, he and a friend fundraised for Crawford House - a place that provides families who have children staying at the RVI with accommodation. Jack has also done sponsored walks and bike rides to raise funds for poorly children.

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He and a friend also gave homemade heart decorations which read: “Never forget the difference you make”, to hospital workers.

In January, a GoFundMe page was set up for a brand-new idea of Jack’s, which was to create ‘Friendship Bags of Hope’ to gift to the children staying in local hospitals. The bags are made up of fun and comforting items such as soft toys, colouring books, bubbles and reading books, which are suitable for all ages.

Thanks to members of the public, businesses and even former footballer Jamie Carragher who was born with the same condition as Jack, the young boy was able to raise £2,100 which he used to buy the items and create around 200 ‘Friendship Bags of Hope’.

Sarah said: “Jamie sent Jack a lovely video message and donated £500 which got Jack to his target. Jack was so excited about that.”

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Jack also had the initiative to contact companies who make and produce soft toys to tell them his idea, and after hearing Jack’s story, the companies kindly donated soft toys to the cause - meaning Jack could make even more friendship bags.

Jack Lewis has created ‘Friendship Bags of Hope’ for poorly children.Jack Lewis has created ‘Friendship Bags of Hope’ for poorly children.
Jack Lewis has created ‘Friendship Bags of Hope’ for poorly children.

Sarah said: “We are really proud of him.”

Because of Jack’s bravery and kindness, he alongside his brother who helps with fundraising, have been nominated for a Community Champion award. Jack also won the Child of Courage at the Best of South Tyneside Awards 2023.

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