Peace Sponsor Spotlight

Posted on: September 25th, 2013 by jeni No Comments

-

-

Peace Sponsor

Fall 2013

=

Christopher J. Lewis

Las Vegas, USA

=

Christopher J. Lewis has been around children and adults with disabilities his entire life. The son of the award-winning comedian and actor Jerry Lewis, who volunteered as the MDA National Chairperson for more the 50 years, Chris grew up witnessing his dad’s compassion for “Jerry’s Kids.” Chris quickly developed his own compassion for people with disabilities, and has spent his life supporting those in need.

-

For many years, Chris helped his dad with various activities — from handing his film and television distribution to supporting his MDA service. In 2000, Chris  embarked on a whole new level of sponsoring peace — he founded a non-profit with the mission of bringing mobility to people in need. The American Wheelchair Mission sponsors wheelchairs and mobility aids for people of all ages and in all places around the world who are in need of these supports, but who lack the means to acquire them.

-

Mattie said that peace is possible if we tend to and balance the basic human needs of all people. Through his work and his everyday life, that is exactly what Chris is doing.Now, as we celebrate individuals and groups during National Disability Awareness Month, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation honors Christopher J. Lewis as the Peace Sponsor Spotlight Honoree for our Fall 2013 post. -

-

 -

Christopher J. Lewis — Peace Sponsor Spotlight Feature

Members of Peace Sponsor Honoree Christopher J. Lewis’ family — (L to R) son Josh, daughter Morgan, dad Jerry, and daughter Tia.

-

Tell us a bit about yourself.

=

My name is Christopher J. Lewis. I have a lovely wife, Maryhelen, and three amazing children who are all young adults now — Josh, Morgan, and Tia.

-

My dad is Jerry Lewis, the famed comedian and movie star who volunteered as the National Chairperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for more than 50 years. I have spent years handling my dad’s film and television distribution, and supporting his service to MDA.

-

In 2000, I helped start a foundation to deliver wheelchairs to people in need of mobility around the world. The name of our organization is the American Wheelchair Mission.

-

The goal of this non-profit is to deliver new, free wheelchairs and mobility aids to some of the 100 million physically disabled children, teens, and adults throughout the world who are without mobility or the means to acquire a wheelchair. Our mission is to change the lives of entire families by tending to basic needs with the gifts of hope, dignity, freedom, and independence.

-

The brand new wheelchairs we deliver would sell for about $500 in a U.S. medical supply store. But we purchase them by sea containers of 100 to 280 wheelchairs, and deliver them directly to the country of destination. We can do this for an average of $150 per wheelchair. That money comes from donors and fundraising to support our mission.

-

Because of our work, children are able to go to school for the first time, and adults can begin or return to work. We also spend time with those we bring wheelchairs and mobility aid to, which is a joyous gift — for us.

-

My only hobby is delivering wheelchairs around the world with members of my family.  My wife and all three of my children have participated in wheelchair missions.

-

Chris Lewis getting a hug of gratitude from a woman at the Caritas Center in Ramallah, West Bank.

Chris Lewis helping a young girl learn to use her new wheelchair in Guanajuato, Mexico at the Teleton Rehabilitation Center for Children

===================

What does “peace” mean to you?

-

Peace means connecting heart to heart with a person who may not speak your language, but is in dire need of assistance.  The universal language is love, and it is spoken or expressed by people of every race, color and creed around the world.

-

I have been involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance around the world since 2000, and have been welcomed and embraced in over 30 countries. This is peace.

-

Chris Lewis with Jeni Stepanek during an MDA fundraiser in 2007.

How has Mattie inspired you in your peace mission?

-

I became a Mattie fan by seeing him on the MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon. The importance Mattie put on peace makes people like me think we can and should do more to promote peace in our every day lives.

-

I read Mattie’s poem “Momentous Reality” (from his “Hope Through Heartsongs” book) at every one of my speaking presentations when raising awareness about the American Wheelchair Mission, and how the commitment made by the sponsors of the wheelchairs that day has the ability to brighten our future, and touch the whole world.

 -

I learned of Mattie’s Foundation through my friendship with Jeni Stepanek. I am glad to now be involved with this peace organization.

-

I am just learning about the new certification program, but I am sure it is something I would want to be — Peace Certified by Mattie’s Foundation.

-

A woman’s tears of Joy for her new wheelchair in Qui Nhon, Vietnam.

What else would you like to share?

-

I think it is a great honor to be considered a peace seeker by Mattie’s Foundation.

-

In the course of delivering wheelchairs around the world to people in need of mobility, I have found that people with “disabilities” have the greatest “abilities” to recognize the gestures of love and peace that are being offered by people traveling across the world to meet them.

-

The recipients and their families express words of thanks, they offer prayers, and want to connect in a tangible way with the strangers who are helping them.  All barriers of language or culture fall away immediately, and lives are changed on both the giving and receiving sides.

-

Peace for ALL people is possible. We may need to put most of the politicians worldwide on a boat and send them elsewhere for peace to become a reality though. People to people relationships are easy. It’s the politics that get in the way of peace.

00

Peace Sponsor Honoree, Christopher J. Lewis (with camera),

shooting video for the Knights of Columbus during

a wheelchair delivery in Naga City in the Philippines.

(click on images to enlarge)

Thank you, Chris,

for being a Peace Sponsor.

Congratulations!

-

-

To learn more about Chris and the

“American Wheelchair Mission” visit

www.amwheelchair.org

-

-

 -

Return to Archived Spotlight page

-

Return to Main Spotlight page

 

 

 

 

 

 

October Spotlight

In-Kind Support

Celebrating our "in kind" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with services and materials. Thank you ezStorage, Montgomery Printing, Parcel Plus, and Potomac Valley Brick! Read more...

Nourishment Support

Celebrating our "nourishment" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with food and services. Thank you Botanero Restaurant, Fontina Grille, Safeway, Coffee Republic, and Red Hot & Blue! Read more...

Community Support

Celebrating our "community" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with commitment and participation. Thank you City of Rockville, King Farm Citizen's Assembly, Kick's Karate & Mix 107.3! Read more...

Champion Support

Celebrating our "Foundation Champions" -- sponsors and volunteers of all ages who support Mattie's Foundation through donations, brick sponsorships, participation in our activities and events. Thank you!!! Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek