Julie Lewis and Jenny Koenig
Julie Lewis is a thirty-nine-year AIDS survivor, and mother to Grammy Award winning music producer, Ryan Lewis. She was infected with HIV in 1984 but not diagnosed until the early 1990s when she was given three to five years to live. After years of silence about her disease, she found an unlikely community of friends to fight alongside and began using her story to make a difference. Her experiences as a woman living with AIDS offers insights about grief and loss, caregiving, spirituality and the importance of community in the midst of tragedy.
Thirty years later, wanting to find a way to celebrate her incredible journey, and her passion for community health, she launched the 30/30 Project to positively impact the lives of other women, girls, and families who didn’t have the same access to the healthcare opportunities that she’s had.
The five-year project has resulted in 30 healthcare facilities, built for 18 organizations in 9 countries, including the US and Puerto Rico.
Julie has shared her story on CBS This Morning, Anderson Cooper and The Elvis Duran Show. Julie, a recipient of the Nelson Mandela Change-maker Award, has opened international conferences and been the keynote speaker at several events focused on healthcare, empowering women and uplifting communities whose voices need amplified.
Jenny Koenig is a writer and Grammy Nominated Music Video Producer. She’s passionate about channeling her creativity into ways to raise money for nonprofits, including the 30/30 Project. She was a co-creator and Executive Producer for All in WA: A Concert for COVID Relief, which raised over $110 million for COVID related causes. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. She’s a longtime friend of Julie Lewis and jumped at the chance to help her tell her story.
One Woman's Journey of Advocacy, Faith, and Positivity
“You only have three to five years to live.”
On the day she was diagnosed with HIV and thrust from the confines of her suburban mom bubble into the scary and unpredictable world of AIDS, Julie promptly found herself fighting for her life and rights amidst a disease she never imagined would hijack her future.
With three young children, her family began making every effort to create lasting memories while simultaneously managing the debilitating side effects of early meds. They hid her illness for four years, fearing her children would suffer stigma and discrimination often experienced in the early days of the disease.
Her diagnosis began a path of advocacy, faith, and positivity despite her life’s detour. Now, Julie advocates for better healthcare outcomes for women through the personal stories and reflections from her life. Her health journey creates space for those walking through their own family or medical crises to be seen and supported.
"Some books tell you what to do or offer an outline for life… this book does not do that. The stories that make up Still Positive offered something different and impactful. ... I couldn’t put it down.” – Danielle Eylander, Early Reader