A STRABANE man who was left in a coma after contracting swine flu and woke to discover his mother had died is taking on the ultimate fund-raising challenge in her memory.
In early 2016 the unthinkable happened for 35-year-old Chris McCosker.
After becoming unwell Chris was brought to Altnagelvin Hospital. He was diagnosed with the deadly respiratory disease and very soon afterwards fell into a coma. When he awoke 12 days later, he was informed that his mother Teresa May McCosker had passed away, after she too contracted swine flu.
“Everything was taken from me,” said Chris. “I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t move as I was paralysed from the neck down and then to make everything worse, I was told my mother had died.”
Spending a considerable time in Altnagelvin Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Chris says for those few weeks he was one of the most expensive patients in the North, hence his desire to give something back.
“It was a really difficult time,” he explained. “Not only had I to come to terms with my mother’s death, but I had to begin an intensive road to recovery.
“I was a difficult patient too. I weighed 24-and-a-half stone and I know the doctors and nurses had a hard time moving me between wards. I promised myself I would pay them back some day, now I am fulfilling that promise.”
Next February on the second anniversary of his mother’s death, Chris is holding a kick boxing phenomenon ‘Brawl on the Wall 2,’ in the Millennium Forum.
Describing kickboxing as a huge part of his life Chris says it was friends at his kickboxing club who suggested he should hold this event.
With a string of fighters already lined up including international and national kickboxing champions, Chris says this event will be a “sporting spectacular,” which he hopes will raise £15,000 for Altnagelvin’s ICU.
The event will see 20 fights on the card, including kickboxers from Japan, Holland, England, Ireland and a fighter selected by the Dutch superstar kickboxer, Ernesto Hoost.
Categories include PRO, middle weight and amateur fighters and Chris says he wants to add Strabane fighters to the card.
“We have a great kickboxing club and some really talented kickboxers in our town,” said Chris.
“This event is a perfect opportunity for them to display that skill and learn from some of the worlds greatest fighters.”
Despite being more than eight months away, tickets for the event will be released soon. Tickets for a raffle which includes two tickets for a Manchester United game will also go on sale and Chris says it is packed full of prizes and surprises.
Looking forward to the event Chris says, “I am doing this for my mum and for the staff at Altnaglevin. Life is like a bowl of cherries,” he added, “bitter and sweet.”
Brawl on the Wall 2- Millennium Forum, Derry February 12, 2018.
Tickets £20 and £50 for VIP, can be purchased from Dolan’s Garage or by contacting the Millennium Forum.
All proceeds raised in aid of Altnagelvin ICU.