Ultra-talented South Tyneside boy proving medics wrong after fighting rare condition - and how you can help him achieve his dream
An ultra-talented South Tyneside boy is all set to prove the medical experts wrong when he represents his country at the Dance World Cup.
Jack Lewis, from Jarrow, has been chosen as part of an England team for the tournament in Telford in August.
His selection comes just eight years after he was born with his bowel, intestines and liver outside of his body.
But Jack needs your help. He must raise £500 before he can realise his dream.
His mum Sarah Lewis told the Shields Gazette how important the event was to her son.
“It is a brilliant opportunity for him. We were told that he would never be able to do anything competitive or anything at a higher level. He is proving them wrong.”
"Jack will be in two troupe dances as part of the mini team but we have to raise money for things like fees, uniform, accommodation and travel.”
Pandemic restrictions have meant that normal fundraising events such as bucket collections can not be held.
Sarah has set up a gofundme page where she hopes people will make donations. She added: “He was really excited when he was told he had been chosen for the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts team."
Jack’s parents, Sarah and Gary, were informed at the 12-week scan that he would be born with the condition.
He had surgery at five months old when two hernias were operated on. Complications with a further operation to place the organs inside Jack’s body led to the youngster fighting for his life.
He had more surgery when the bowel came back through his stomach. More recently, Jack had two more operations and was poorly for a year with further bowel problems in 2018.
He has been in hospital around 50 times and still has stomach problems but he never lets it get him down.
He is doing so well academically that he won a bursary to go to Newcastle School for Boys. He is so talented at eight years old that his mathematic skills have been assessed as the equivalent of a secondary school student.
But Jack also excels outside the classroom.
During the lockdown, he studied for school on a morning and then kept up his online dance lessons with the VA Performing Arts Tyneside.
Until recently, he could only do Zoom lessons with the dance school because of Covid-19 restrictions but his talents shone through so much that he was picked for the team.
Last summer, Sarah said Jack joining the Val Armstrong school had given her son a massive lift.
She said his self confidence is soaring and Sarah thinks that’s down to the support of dance school boss Val Armstrong and her team.
"It has improved him massively,” said Sarah. She told how doctors had recommended dancing because of his problems with his abdominal muscles.
Val Armstrong, who runs dance studios in venues including South Shields, said: “Jack has really proven himself and gained a place in our team representing team England. He is a hard working and determined little boy.”
To give Jack your backing, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/jacks-dance-world-cup-fundraiser