Memorial created 04-9-2006 by
Jerry "Grant" Lewis
December 19 1979 - January 17 2006
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
WE WANT YOU TO KNOW THE GRANT THAT WE ALL KNEW AND LOVED. THANK YOU
In this tribute to Grant Lewis you will come to know a compassionate, loving and courageous young man who lived life well beyond his 26 years. Grant Lewis was a blessing to the lives of many people and will forever be missed, but never forgotten. PLEASE SIGN HIS GUESTBOOK and help us to keep his spirit alive by forwarding his on-line memorial to your family and friends.
Grant was born with mild, Factor IX hemophilia, a genetic bleeding disorder that did not allow his blood to clot normally. The medicine that he used when injuries occured was made from human blood. Prior to 1985 the blood was not tested or made safe from viruses such as hepatitis or HIV. Grant received his first intravenous infusion of the medicine in 1982 at the age of 2 when he cut the side of his tongue on a plastic fork. Little did we know that the medicine that was suppose to help him would lead to his early death.
Grant was now infected at the age of 2 with HIV! In the following pages you will learn more about Grant and his zest for life and how he touched thousands of lives.
Grant, at the age of 2, the age that he became infected with HIV through his clotting factor, the medicine needed to control his bleeding episodes.
SMILING THROUGH IT ALL!!!!!!!!!
Grant at his 26th birthday party just 5 weeks before he departed this life. Over 100 of his closest friends from 7 different states came to celebrate his birthday and his life.
"If we could reach up and grab a star for every time you made us smile, we would be holding the entire universe in the palm of our hands"
GRANT'S INFAMOUS TATTOO ON HIS RIGHT FOREARM
WORLD AIDS DAY SPEECH 1997
MISSOURI CAPITOL, JEFFERSON CITY, MO
The most controversial disease of our society is HIV/AIDS. It is the disease of my generation and the impact of it will leave its scar on all generations to come. AIDS has no boundaries and has taken its toll on all races and age groups, especially on America's youth. HIV/AIDS leaves its victims with poverty, prejudice, broken families and feelings of loss, grief, shame and despair. It is a deadly disease that has no cure, but it must be forced into submission to protect the generations to come.
To reach this goal, I feel that education is the greatest tool that we have available. It is a tool that has been used lightly and shyly in the past and one that needs to be used more aggressively in the future. I have been living with the disease most all of my life and have been active in educating my peers for more than six years. I have seen first hand the impact of AIDS education. I know that in all reality I have not and will never reach every single person that I speak to, but I also know that through my story about the impact of HIV/AIDS in my life, I have helped to educate many that will be able to keep themselves free from the disease. But, I am only one person and I am only reaching a small portion of the population. Education of HIV/AIDS must be first and foremost with our government, churches, schools, communities, friends and families. We must work to find a standard, factual form of education that will not only reach youth, but adults as well. Our efforts must be focused on continuously educating the media and to the REAL devastion and the TRUTH about the disease. Too many times the media has shown HIV/AIDS to "no longer be a threat" or portray that it is a "controlable" disease, far from the REAL TRUTH. In fact, until there is a medical cure and consistent, aggressive education, Americans are still at risk for contracting the disease.
The stigma of living with the virus causes most people to believe that only certain groups of people are or will be at risk for infection. These thoughts and beliefs have led people to become isolated and created unwarranted fears and prejudice. Once again, education would be beneficial in reducing the infection rate and help to relieve those who are already living with the disease. It would also allow for a greater interest in the medical field. There are still too many doctors and healthcare workers who are ignorant to the facts regarding HIV/AIDS.
I am only one of hundreds of thousands of America's youth living with HIV/AIDS and I have found that through education I have been accepted in my small rural community in Missouri. My family and I have experienced and endured the pressures of prejudice, but I also know how the feelings of others were won over because of our continual and on-going education. The theme for this World AIDS Day 1997 is, "Give Children Hope in a World With AIDS". I am one of those children and I have been given hope.
We must all work together sincerely and compassionately to prevent further spread of this disease. It must be made a top priority to save America's Future. I am America's Future and so are my peers. It is our responsibility, as it is yours to fight for preserving the lives, both mentally and physically, of the next generation. It is not a difficult goal to reach, but one that will require the work of everyone.
AIDS is a 100% preventable disease, but without education it will continue to grow, ravage and destroy our future.
To give tribute and thanks to one who deserves a lot of the credit for our being able to have Grant's life in photos I would like to give a loving "thank you" to Kelley McCall. Kelley is a photographer for the AP at the Missouri capitol. She was the photographer for the first newspaper article that was done on Grant in 1992 and many other times. She became a very close friend to Grant and our family and was continually in his life providing us with a wonderful photo essay. Many of the pictures on this site are the product of Kelley.
Again, Thank you so much Kelley
Kelley is pictured here with Grant.
CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION presented to Grant at his 26th birthday party, December 2005, from our city's mayor, Mr. Mark Rinne.
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