A YOUNGSTER who has dedicated his life to uniting young people with disabilities is celebrating his 17th birthday.
Havant teen Lewis Hine, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a young boy, has invited people to share in his joy with a video he posted to social media.
The two-minute clip reflects on the public response he has had since sharing his life story, which has seen him spend time in and out of hospital with an incurable illness that causes him to suffer seizures.
It comes 12 months after a video he shared on his 16th birthday racked up more than 30million views – kick-starting a whirlwind year of television appearances and charity triumphs.
As he extends his gratitude to the people who backed his journey after the feat, he said: ‘It changed my life forever. Today is my 17th Birthday so I’ve made this video to say THANK YOU.
‘Please help me celebrate my birthday by sharing my video and showing the world it’s ok to be different.
‘I have a life-limiting Illness but with your support you’ve given me a life and together we are making a difference!’
A whistle-stop tour through his achievements over the past year, the video shows how Lewis managed to raise £15,000 to hold the first FriendFinder prom.
Borne from the charity he founded, of the same name, the fixture saw 150 disabled and ill young people enjoy their own prom celebration – after setbacks meant they could not attend those organised by their schools.
It also told how he partnered with television channel CBBC to create a documentary after the event – which garnered him praise from prime minister Theresa May and pop royalty including Sitr Elton John.
Closing in thanking all those who have backed him, the teen said in his latest video: ‘It was your support that has made my dream a reality and I want to thank you.
‘My illness may define the length of my life, but it won’t define how I live it.’