Inspired to live like Mike – by Siobhan Clifford

I never had the chance to meet Michael Lewis (pictured right). To see the kind of man he was; what drove him, motivated him. But what I do get to see is the legacy Michael has left, how his passion for life has inspired the foundation that bears his name, so in his tragedy, others can fulfil their life’s dreams.

I met the Lewis family last year (pictured above, from left Trustee Steve Roberts, Dad Tim Lewis, Mum Cheryl Lewis, Trustee Chris Edwards, brother Nathan Lewis). Raw from their loss, but galvanised in their purpose, they began the Michael Lewis Foundation as a way of honouring Mike – who died aged 20 – by trying to safeguard the futures of countless other people suffering from type 1 diabetes, through the united ambition of finding a cure.

Raising money and awareness of diabetes would only be part of the battle. They wanted to do more. Live Like Mike. Not take half measures, but go over and above in what they could accomplish – like he did. They wanted to inspire.

It has been almost a decade since I started working within charitable fundraising. I have worked alongside some of the most motivated characters and communities this world has to offer, all driven by a common principle, to help others. This alone is inspiring, still there is something particular about the legacy of Michael Lewis.

Everything about the work and fundraising the Michael Lewis Foundation accomplishes is a testament to the distinguishing spirit of its namesake. From their Golf Days to Hog Roasts, the comprehensive approach of the Foundation is one of celebration and life. This is illustrated perfectly in their inaugural Charity Ball, which happened this July.

Representative of their distinct style, the ball was one of revelry and charm. The evening commenced with a red carpet Champagne reception, followed by a 3 course meal and an auction of some fabulous donated items. Once the fundraising element of the evening had concluded, Crash, an 8 piece band, took to the stage, with an intensity which spread across the entire dance floor from the opening notes to the resounding last.

This, this is what makes the Michael Lewis Foundation, Michael, and those who honour him so extraordinary. The energy they bring to this cause is one that should, and has been celebrated; as the Lewis Family and the achievements of the MLF were our National Inspire Award winners for Fundraising this year.

I am so fortunate that my path has led to me to the MLF, so I can witness the superb work they are accomplishing in helping raise money and awareness of type 1 diabetes and Diabetes UK, and offer whatever assistance I can to augment their efforts.

Live Like Mike is the motto of the Michael Lewis Foundation. It is bold and it is simple. It hints to the warmth and sincerity of the man who inspired it. And it encapsulates all that the Foundation is trying to accomplish. Through fundraising, awareness, and aiding Diabetes UK, they are attempting to give others an opportunity. An opportunity at a better chance, an opportunity, to Live Like Mike.

Here’s to a future where diabetes can do no harm.

From right to left, Siobhan (Diabetes UK’s West Midlands fundraiser) with Mike’s dad Tim Lewis, Mike’s mum Cheryl and Jenni Young, Diabetes UK’s fundraising administrator

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