Not long ago, on May 23rd, Sofian celebrated his 18th birthday with great excitement in the city of Marseille. He had a big party, with a TikTok-Instagram theme, in which the teenager was spoiled with many clothes, skincare products, and stuffed animals, and a delicious giant chocolate cake! Among the guests, many popular influencers on social networks were present to share a good time with the hero of the day, but also to support him, because behind his laughing eyes, wide smile and optimism, Sofian leads a relentless fight against the disease that eats away at him. Toombow Kids met him and invites you to discover his touching and incredible story.
Born in the city of Béziers, Sofian Ribes soon showed signs that alerted his mother Virginie, such as the fact that he drooled profusely and had much less strength than other children of his age. At the age of 2, his intensive examinations began with numerous MRIs, scans, X-rays and other tests which led to a terrible diagnosis: Sofian suffers from ataxia-telangiectasia, an extremely rare disease affecting only one child out of 150,000. Worse still, there is no treatment for this disorder in the world today. In addition to the motor complications that put Sofian in a wheelchair, the symptoms also include slurred speech, dilated vessels and weakened nervous and muscular systems. Sofian knows the hospital well. Very well indeed! When asked what the doctors are like, he answers with humor:
« They are nice but sometimes I get tired of seeing their faces! »
An understandable answer for him who has been constantly going back and forth between his home and the hospital, especially since he first got cancer at age 10. In the meantime, Sofian has lost an eye in his fight, he is exhausted but continues to move forward. Between his physical therapy sessions and his treatments to slow down his heart rate, he made the effort to continue studying until he was 13 years old to acquire good basic knowledge in French and mathematics in order to give him more independence. And Sofian shows himself the most free in front of the cameras!
Following the recommendations of the influencer Adrien Varona, whom he now considers his « best friend on social networks, » Sofian created a TikTok account in order to raise awareness of his illness. After a video made together, Sofian has nearly 20,000 followers in 24 hours! The teenager’s natural attitude and good mood immediately attracted the public and he was on his way ! Today, Sofian has nearly 500,000 follower son TikTok and he is visibly thriving. He laughs, his good humor is obvious and his optimism despite his illness shows us that we shouldn’t complain about small things. A good lesson to remember ! When he is recognized in the street, which often happens, he always keeps it simple and never refuses photos with his fans.
At home, he fully indulges his two great passions: animals and reality TV! Indeed, he gives a lot of love to his dogs and cats, some of which were abandoned and that he adopted, without forgetting his turtle Noëlle. And he loves watching programs like « Les Marseillais »! Moreover, Sofian has a dream of one day being able to act in this kind of show, in TV series or even in movies! Speaking on the Toombow Kids’ microphone, Sofian also wanted to send a message of hope to all the children in hospitals who are going through difficult times and are tired of fighting their illness.
We must never give up and always keep our heads high. Life is beautiful, you have to fight to live good moments!
Beautiful words filled with wisdom despite his young age. The Toombow Kids team sends its encouragement and support to Sofian and all of his friends !