By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) — Robert Lewis is on a mission. The 60-year-old nonprofit founder recently survived Coronavirus on top of having pneumonia, and he was on a ventilator for nearly two weeks.

“Honestly it’s good to be alive and I don’t take that for granted. I was in the hospital fighting for my life and fighting to get stronger,” said Lewis, the president of the Base in Boston, a non-profit that impacts the lives of underserved children with sports, education, mentorship, and opportunity.

When the pandemic hit and Lewis was fighting to survive, his organization closed down for three and a half months.

Since his recovery, Lewis has been unable to ignore the impact COVID-19 has had on minorities. “I’m president and founder of The Base. I have connections and resources and access. I’ve also learned the number of people who don’t have resources and support,” Lewis said.

The Base is up and running again but only at 20% capacity. “That’s going to have a big impact on the kids we serve with other nonprofits. Some things you can do on a Zoom. A lot of things you need to do in person,” Lewis said.

Lewis said while COVID-19 has slowed him down physically, he’s never been more focused and determined to get right back at it and serving the community he loves. “I feel like if I can wake up be relevant and make a difference in their lives. What they’re doing with this place and what this community does, it inspires my soul to want to do more.”

Paul Burton

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