INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Just days after wrapping up Colts mini camp, defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis took the afternoon to read to patients with dementia. Lewis was raised in North Carolina and often volunteered at nursing homes where his mother worked as a social worker.
“I just have a big heart, especially when it comes to elderly people because I was living with my great-grandmother for such a long time,” Lewis said Monday while visiting the American Village center on Indy’s north side. “Seeing her in a nursing facility and being around her and her friends, it just always played a huge role in my life because I learned so much through them.”
Lewis has been an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association and represented the organization on his cleats during the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign. Lewis adds that his great-grandmother was affected with the disease herself.
“Throughout college, high school, middle school, as long as my mom has been a part of it, I have been here. So it has just always had this huge impact on my life because one day, everyone has to grow old, and you know how you would want to be treated. Everyone wants to be treated equally and fair because you don’t get but so many days in life.”
Lewis read several books to the residents of the community who are affected by dementia as part of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy authored one of the books, “You Can Do It!,” that Lewis read to the elderly patients. He also spent time answering questions from the audience and signing autographs.
“It’s just a great feeling to see their faces light up, even if you are reading and they have a laugh, it’s still a great feeling because you know you’re making a positive impact and making their day better. It’s a new face coming in the building, new smile, you’re probably brightening their day and [it] builds everybody up a little bit.”
Lewis added that he would like to invite his teammates to visit one of the facilities this fall and spent time with the residents as part of the Colts’ weekly volunteer efforts.