2023 Winner

Ravi Adelekan

Schoolboy who faces ongoing health issues after devastating brain tumour is campaigning to raise funds and awareness to help others.

Ravi, eight, was diagnosed with a non-cancerous tumour on his brain stem in September 2021. After life-saving surgery the following month to reduce its size, the Brighton youngster had to learn to walk and feed himself again. He continues to struggle with a number of challenges including balance issues, tremors, facial palsy and problems with his sight and hearing.

Yet despite his own difficulties, Ravi has been determined to help others and give back to organisations that have helped him and his family. It was during a chat with mum Bethan about finding silver linings after his beloved football team Newcastle United lost a match, that Ravi realised there were silver linings with his own situation – namely that he could use his own voice to help others.

With encouragement from friends and support from the local community, together they have set out to raise £250,000 with Ravi’s Dream in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity and brainstrust.

Bethan said: “When we started talking about silver linings for Newcastle United, Ravi asked me what the silver lining could be for someone with a brain tumour. We talked about it and realised the silver lining for someone who had been through what he had, was that he now had a voice that could help other people. When I suggested something small like a bake sale, Ravi quickly brought things up a notch. That evening, we were listening to the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman, music we’d listened to a lot throughout Ravi’s treatment. He said he wanted to make a charity single, and by the end of the conversation, that was the plan.”

Ravi’s dad Gbenga, a musician, reached out to some artists through his contacts in the industry, and Ravi himself started getting in touch with people, including writing to Michael Gracey, the director of The Greatest Showman. Not only did Michael send a video back, but Hugh Jackman was in it too.

A little more than a year after his initial surgery, stars including Paloma Faith, Damon Albarn and Jimmy Somerville came together with Ravi and his family to record a charity music video of the song A Million Dreams, raising money for brain tumour charities. So far, the youngster and his family have raised more than £82,000 for charity through the video as well as events including a charity football day hosted by Worthing FC.

Ravi and his family also visited the Houses of Parliament earlier this year to launch ‘Dream Week’, a campaign to encourage others to follow their dreams with resources for schools and educators.

Ravi will continue to have scans to monitor the tumour, and has undergone a number of procedures to alleviate the impact of his original surgery, particularly his facial palsy, but he doesn’t let his challenges hold him back.

Bethan says: “Ravi is a wonderful combination of so many things, and he loves to experience every part of life that he can. Central to all that he does is helping others facing adversity, encouraging them to believe that no matter what life throws your way, your dreams can still come true.”