FRIENDS have rallied around a 32-year-old man who has just weeks left to live by sparking a global social media campaign in his honour.
Popular rail worker Lewis Vaughan, from Leith, was diagnosed with testicular cancer, secondary lung cancer and a number of brain tumours in April last year.
The music fanatic, known for his “wicked sense of humour”, was told last month by doctors that he had only a short time left.
Lewis started posting tongue-in-cheek selfies wearing different hats to make people smile, triggering a social media drive to raise money and awareness for the Marie Curie Hospice, in Fairmilehead, where he has moved in recent weeks.
More than 1800 people have joined the “#LforLewis” Facebook campaign, posting pictures of themselves wearing a hat and forming an “L” shape using their fingers and thumbs.
Hundreds of photos have been posted on the site, some from as far afield as Canada, Afghanistan and Italy.
Before his diagnosis, Lewis was a familiar face at Waverley Station, where he worked as a customer information assistant for Virgin Trains East Coast.
Friend and colleague Adrian Bayne, of Prestonpans, said: “Lewis has been an inspiration to everyone at Virgin Trains East Coast. He has told his story with dignity and humour and I think it deserves a wider audience.”
His colleagues raised enough to buy an electric wheelchair for Lewis, who is unable to move much of his left side.
Adrian, 42, a train driver, said: “It was his idea to get a Facebook campaign going as he wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Marie Curie.
“It’s also motivation for Lewis to keep fighting. It’s been so positive so far.
“Everyone is really behind him. We want more people to join the #LforLewis campaign as it is spreading all over the world.”
At one point Lewis asked friends to send him different hats to wear, including a jester hat, an army helmet and one piece of headgear modelled on a white tiger.
Staff at the hospice were inundated with the gifts, some of which were sent anonymously.
Adrian said: “Lewis has got a wicked sense of humour and he loved all the hats people sent him.
“It’s been tough on him but he has been very strong. Knowing people are thinking of him must help.”
The campaign has already raised more than £1100 for Marie Curie through people spreading Lewis’ story.
Fiona Bushby, Edinburgh community fundraiser at Marie Curie Hospice, said: “Lewis’ friends and colleagues have come up with a fantastic campaign to raise awareness and funds for Marie Curie and we’re so grateful for their support.
“We hope everyone will be inspired to donate, don a hat and share an #LforLewis.”