Extraordinary fundraiser awarded the inaugural Lenny Award by Comic Relief


Comic Relief
is proud to announce Rae Saleem as the winner of the inaugural Lenny Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication and commitment to fundraising for Red Nose Day. The award, named in honour of Sir Lenny Henry, celebrates individuals who go the extra mile
and lead the fundraising charge with endless enthusiasm. Despite facing significant challenges, Rae has demonstrated unwavering dedication to give back to his community and support those in need.
Rae Saleem’s journey is nothing short of remarkable. Six years ago, he faced a life-altering accident that left him paralysed from the neck down, along with brain damage. However, Rae defied the odds, embarking on a journey of recovery and overcoming not only physical challenges but also financial hardship and mental health struggles.

Rae commented: “The work Comic Relief does with mental health and poverty is big for me because I struggled with both after my accident. Wondering what type of father I would be with my life confined to a bed. We were also on the verge of being evicted, and it really opened my eyes in terms of how quickly life can change.”

These personal challenges, however, did not deter Rae to give back to others facing similar struggles and inspire countless others through his remarkable fundraising initiatives. From gruelling physical endurance challenges to community-wide events, Rae has continuously gone above and beyond to raise vital funds for those in need. Last year, he raised £3,700 with the London Monopoly Run which saw him gather the community and run to every London location featured in the popular board game. In 2022 he organised his first multi-disciplined 4-hour group fitness event, then rowed, ran, cycled and cross-trained 82 miles the following day encouraging the community to join him.

The momentous challenges don’t stop there. This year, Rae climbed into the saddle at his local gym to start an epic community 12-hour Spin-a-thon with over 60 participants to raise funds for this year’s Red Nose Day. He surpassed his initial £2,500 target, raising over £4,000 which brings his total raised for Comic Relief over the years to over £11,000!

Commenting on Red Nose Day, Rae said: “What I really want is to bring the community together and give others the belief that they can achieve so much more. Red Nose Day really does bring people together, it’s lots of fun and works for so many great causes that I have personally benefitted from at home, and abroad. I am now so grateful and honoured to be in a position where I can give back in some small way.”

He added: “My attitude has changed. For me this is a second chance and I’m grabbing it with both hands. I love Comic Relief, I always watched it as a child on TV but now I can watch knowing that I’ve made a contribution which makes me immensely proud.”

Sir Lenny Henry commented: “It is my great honour to introduce the winner of the first-ever Lenny Award, Rae Saleem. Comic Relief are lucky to have Rae fundraising for them. I’d like to thank him for everything he’s done.”

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