The Superhero in All of Us: Former PPI Intern Co-Founds Non-Profit

Today’s blog highlights Ellie Lewis, a recent PPI-DC intern and sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill. Ellie recently co-founded The Superhero Project, a non-profit designed to teach patients that their greatest superpowers are creativity, courage and kindness.

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Ellie Lewis and Jack Davis started a non-profit that brings together patients at the UNC Children’s hospital. (Photo via The Daily Tarheel)

Former PPI-DC summer intern Ellie Lewis is making superheroes come to life for patients at the UNC Children’s Hospital. Along with her partner and fellow sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill, Jack Davis, the two launched a non-profit. The organization partners with the Children’s Hospital and local comic book artists and UNC students to draw personalized superheroes for every patient they interact with.

“The Superhero Project is about bringing to life the un-seeable,” Lewis said. “It’s about giving kids a chance to be celebrated for the strengths inside of them. By creating superheroes, we are showing patients, families, and students that there are superpowers in us all.”

The idea for The Superhero Project was born when a pediatric patient came up to Davis studying in the lobby of the UNC Hospital and wrote ‘good luck on your test tomorrow’ on his notebook. The simple act resonated with him, and he set out to develop a project that connects patients while building community.

From there, Davis and Lewis connected on the idea in Washington, D.C. where they were working at different internships. Lewis was drawn in by the idea of using superheroes as a way of connecting with the kids. “We really want to see eye-to-eye with the patients and our way to do that is using a love of superheroes. It’s so easy to geek out and love superheroes because they save the world. But, they are a basic symbol of power and strength that anyone from five-years old to 50 can recognize.”

Currently, The Superhero Project is in developmental stages before it launches at the UNC Children’s Hospital. In preparation, Lewis is gaining experience with her fellow club members, learning about each other’s strengths as well as gaining training on interacting with kids and families, and providing emotional support and encouragement. In addition, she and Davis partnered with Ben Bolling, a UNC postdoctoral fellow and panel director at NC Comicon to cultivate connections with local comic book artists.

Eventually, Lewis would like for The Superhero Project to celebrate the kids in a unique way by publishing a comic book that incorporates all the superheroes together. “We want to illustrate that their fight every day is truly super.”

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