VIRGIN tycoon Sir Richard Branson has pledged his support for an “inspiring” rail worker whose cancer battle sparked a global fundraising campaign.
Lewis Vaughan, of Leith, was diagnosed with secondary lung cancer, testicular cancer and a number of brain tumours last April. He recently moved to the Marie Curie Hospice in Fairmilehead, after doctors told him he had only weeks to live.
The 32-year-old started taking tongue-in-cheek selfies making an L-shape with his hands and donning different hats to make his friends smile.
Earlier this month the #LforLewis campaign took off, with more than 700 people from across the globe sharing selfies.
Virgin Trains East Coast, where Lewis worked as a customer information assistant, even dedicated a train to him with the #LforLewis tag on its side. Sir Richard posted his support for Lewis to his 2.5 million Facebook followers on Sunday, after sharing his own selfie.
In a blog post, he wrote: “I was told a humbling story about an inspiring young Scottish Virgin Trains employee named Lewis Vaughan.
“Suffering with terminal cancer and given only weeks to live by doctors, Lewis has dedicated himself to raising awareness and money for Marie Curie by asking people to take a selfie with a hat on while making an L hand symbol.
“To honour Lewis and help him spread his message, we’ve branded one of our trains – which travels between Inverness and London – with the #LforLewis hashtag.
“The East Coast #LforLewis train service will operate for a month, and we encourage train passengers across the UK to take a selfie next to the train and upload it to social media, and also donate to Lewis’s Virgin Money Giving appeal.”
Passengers are being encouraged to post a picture of the train as it passes through their station and donate £1 to Marie Curie.
Lewis’s brother Taylor Hunter, 24, of Pleasance, said: “I’m very pleased it’s got national attention and still shocked at how something so simple has gone so far.
“The campaign has raised awareness for a great cause. My brother never expected any of this and it gives him hope that he can raise a little bit of happiness in a time of sadness.”
Friend and train driving colleague Adrian Bayne spearheaded the #LforLewis campaign, which has already raised more than £5000 for the cancer charity.
Mr Bayne, 42, of Prestonpans, said: “It’s been a difficult time for Lewis so it is amazing that the big boss is getting involved. His son also posted a lovely message, which is great. We need people like Sir Richard Branson on board to push this campaign even further.”