AN INSPIRATIONAL nine-year-old who defied the odds after doctors said he wouldn’t survive, is up for a National Diversity Award.

Callum Axford, from Benfleet, has a rare combination of cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and neurofibromatosis type one, including optic tumours.

Despite the struggles he faces daily, Callum has gone through his life with sheer determination and always wears a smile on his face.

Callum’s mum, Faye Axford, nominated her son for the award, which is a prestigious black tie event to celebrate the achievements of grass-root communities that tackle issues in today’s society, giving them recognition for their dedication and hard work.

Callum cannot walk easily and uses splints to help. Mum Faye is hopeful he will be able to start growth hormone soon and he is continuously undergoing treatment to try to strengthen his legs.

Faye, said: “I learnt about the awards when it popped up on Facebook and thought why not enter Callum, as he is so amazing.

“Everyone who meets him comments on how bubbly he is.

“Callum lights up a room, is never shy, and loves to talk – especially about football.

“Callum has endless hospital appointments and physio, this winter has been particularly hard with an increase of nebulisers and oxygen, but he is so determined to go to school, which he loves, and to help the Rays of Sunshine charity with anything he can.

“I am so proud of him.”

Callum has worked closely with the Rays of Sunshine charity for several years and takes part in a number of events each year to fundraise, and to raise awareness of the charity and his conditions which still need more research.

Rays of Sunshine grants wishes to seriously ill young people and their families and provides ongoing support in hospital and within the community.

Olly Murs, who is an ambassador of the charity, recently met with Callum and his five-year-old sister, Sophie.

Callum has had a number of fantastic experiences over the years including singing with Alfie Boe at the Royal Albert Hall and appearing live on BBC One for Children in Need. He also won the Pride of Essex Child of Courage award.

Callum has 60 votes so far but needs more to be in with a chance of winning.

Visit to vote.