Doc Lewis on the red carpet at the Stellar gospel music awards. (Photo Contributed)
By Valerie Shelton
Every person has their own set of challenges in life, but Clovis resident Doc Lewis, who is popularly known throughout the Valley and beyond as the host of the Sunday morning gospel show on KSFR 90.7., has overcome challenges many cannot imagine.
In 1967 in Gonzales, Louisiana, Lewis was born prematurely, weighing a mere eight ounces, and doctors pronounced him braindead. His grandmother, holding onto hope, took another peep at him and heard his tiny cry. Miraculously alive, Doc Lewis’s childhood was anything but typical. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy and polio, he was in and out of the hospital for multiple surgeries intended to help him walk. He also had to work with a speech therapist and take remedial courses to catch up in school.
In spite of being “behind” the other kids his age, Lewis never let his disabilities get him down—except for one day, at the age of 8, when he was teased relentlessly by a group of peers and came home contemplating suicide. Luckily his sister reminded him of what a blessing it was that he was alive and the impact his story could have on others.
Today, Lewis is overjoyed to have listened to his sister because she was right. After that incident, Lewis said he ignored the urge to feel sorry for himself and instead pursued his dreams. At first, he dreamed to become an athlete—and throughout high school, after moving to Bakersfield, CA, he succeeded as a basketball player. He also dreamed of being on the radio and of singing gospel, something he started doing to pass the time while in the hospital as a child. Now, not only does Doc have his own radio show and a prominent seat in the choir at his church—People’s Church—but he has also excelled in the radio industry, earning nominations for Stellar gospel music awards, appearing in Minister’s Voice magazine on multiple occasions and having the opportunity to meet celeberties like Stevie Wonder, Ruben Studdard and Jesse Jackson.
Lewis credits all the success to God.
“As a Christian, I know God can do the impossible and he did that for me,” Lewis said. “If I would have told you I couldn’t pronounce any of these words before, you would ask how I got into radio because in radio you have to know these words right then and there, but I couldn’t pronounce the words at first and this is what has happened to me. God led me to do something I didn’t think I could do and now I’m a successful radio host and I get behind the mic and do what I love to do.”
More important than the success itself, though, Lewis said, is that it puts him at the forefront so he is able to share his story and inspire others battling cerebral palsy. That is the reason for his new book, a short story titled “Let me tell you my story.” The 90-page book shares the details of Doc’s story and explains the symptoms of cerebral palsy and the challenges it creates for those living with the disease.
“It’s great to be in the position that I’m in and be able to help others. That is my goal,” Lewis said. “It’s not about Doc Lewis, it’s about the story behind Doc Lewis because when I’m walking, people ask questions and that gives me an opportunity… I was in the airport once and this lady was following me and she had a 3-year-old kid. I was wondering why she was following me so I stopped and asked ‘can I help you?’ and I thought maybe she wanted an autograph but she was curious about why I walk the way I walk and she thought I was trying to mock her son. She told me her son had cerebral palsy and that I was walking just like him and I told her I have CP too. I had a delay for two hours so I sat down and talked to her and I told her how I’ve dealt with CP. We still stay in contact today. That’s what it is all about. I see that I’m helping and making a change, even right here in this community.”
Lewis said he feels so blessed to be able to help people, like that mother and son, and he wouldn’t trade that ability for anything.
“I get asked if I had the chance to go back in time and be born normal would I take it and I say no because who knows, I may not have had any of this,” Lewis said. “I only weighed eight ounces but I would take that over the unknown. I’m comfortable in my own skin and I don’t regret anything. I’m glad I was born this way because now I’m able to help others born like me.”
Lewis said he thanks God and his family for the support and always pushing him to continue to pursue his dreams and share his story.
Doc’s book, “Let me tell you my story” is available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.com. He is currently working on a second book he hopes will be available in September 2016. You can also tune into KFSR 90.7 on Sunday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m. to listen to Doc’s gospel hits show.