A heroic cancer survivor has set up his own company to provide a creative space in Manchester for people suffering from a terminal or serious illness.
Oladamola Babalola, 25, was originally diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma while studying communications and business studies at the University of Liverpool.
Oladamola is working with Clic Sargant, a children’s cancer charity, and hopes to create a recording studio that allows 18-25 year olds battling ill health an opportunity to express themselves though recording songs and making videos.
Oladamola told MM: “After surviving cancer, your outlook on life really changes, and I just wanted to do something to help others going through what I did.
“Whilst I was on the chemotherapy music is what got me through it all. It acted as a diary as well, but I was making music in my room as there wasn’t anything like this.
“Music gave me that strength, and it was very therapeutic.
“We’re setting up the studio space for those who are going through treatment who are creative, so we’re currently looking to raise the funds for that.”
Oladamola first realised he had a real passion for media production while studying communication and business studies at Liverpool University.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2009, the student was determined to complete his degree and continued his studies while undergoing chemotherapy for six months to remove the tumour.
“I got the diagnosis on my 21st birthday and it changed my life,” he said.
“I thought right then and there, I’m going to die, because that was my initial reaction to the big C word as I was that educated on it then.
“It made me more determined, because you just don’t know when you’re going to go, it just pushed me to achieve what I wanted to achieve.
“And I thought ‘when I come out of this I am going to live life on purpose’.”
After being given the all-clear in 2010, Oladamola then went on to complete a master’s degree in marketing at The University of Manchester.
Following this, he worked for a number of digital marketing agencies in the city, before deciding to take the leap and set up his own business.
His company Fresh RB Productions delivers video production, professional photography and audio production services, and Oladamola is now also putting his energy into raising the money to buy a studio that can be used by ill children from across the North West.
“When you’re on chemo you are very weak, and tired,” he said.
“Your immune system is so low, you can’t go out, you can’t really do too many activities and you can’t move around too much.
“That’s which is why I spent so much time sat down making music, and I was very aware of that which is why I think this program is great.
“It gives people a place where they can express themselves and they can produce something and they can see the end product.”
The young entrepreneur has been working with Gatewaytoenterprise, who helped him by offering start-up advice.
They also offered him guidance on how he could use his profits to help people who are suffering or have suffered from cancer or other forms of serious illness.
He was also given help to successfully apply for a loan, and he used the money to help market his business and purchase essential equipment such as a new camera.
Karen Melonie Gould, CEO of Gateway2Enterprise, said: “It’s been a joy to see Oladamola’s brand develop from an initial business concept to a fully-fledged and successful company, especially as it’s one which benefits the community so directly.
“He made great use of the support available and is already applying his newfound entrepreneurial skills to grow the business further.”
Oladamola is currently looking for grants, loans and we are setting up a crowdsurfer appeal to help get the studio up and running.
He is also still working on music and his album will be available on itunes next week.
He added: “We want to get the blueprint here in Manchester right, and then hopefully roll this out across the country. We live in a creative generation and it has the capacity to give a lot of people strength.
“Receiving treatment can be lonely, you have a lot of emotions, regrets and worries and so much of that feeling can be used to do something creative special that’s completely unique to each person.”