Mother urges others to get Covid vaccine after 'invincible and healthy' son dies aged 34
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Sitting at the side of his hospital bed, surrounded by the wires and sounds of the machines keeping him alive, Theresa Keenan watched as her eldest son Matthew’s life slipped away.
Mrs Keenan is experiencing the most unimaginable pain and heartache that no mother should ever have to go through as the 34-year-old father-of-three and healthy football coach succumbed to the devastating effects of Covid at Bradford Royal Infirmary on Sunday evening.
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Mr Keenan, described by family and friends as having “a heart of gold”, had been admitted to hospital earlier this month with what he thought was a kidney infection.
It was not until he got to hospital he was told he had Covid and was placed on oxygen to help him breathe.
When this didn’t work he was placed into an induced coma but died after a week in the intensive care unit.
‘You need to get the jab’
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post Mrs Keenan said: “The main reason why I’m willing to talk to you about this now is because of all these people saying they won’t have Covid jab.
"If they had to see and watch what I went through this past week, they would quickly change their mind.
"I would urge anybody to get it, and I've just been telling all of Matthew's friends and everybody 'you do need to get that jab'.
"You do need it because I would not want any other mother to go through what I am having to go through now."
‘No underlying health conditions’
Mrs Keenan said her son had not had his vaccination against Covid and had been sceptical about the virus before his own diagnosis.
"He never mentioned to me that he had been invited to go for his jab, but Matthew, like a lot of young people, think they are invincible and that it will only happen to older people," she said.
"There was nothing wrong with him before this, he had no underlying health conditions. Out of everyone Matthew would have been the last person you would have thought something like this would have happened to."
‘I hoped he would turn a corner’
Mr Keenan's battle with the virus was highlighted earlier this month by a doctor at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, showing how he was being treated for Covid after admitting he was sceptical about the vaccine.
With his permission, Dr Leanne Cheyne, a lung specialist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, shared his picture and experience to raise awareness of how the virus can target anyone of any age, only for her post on Twitter to be met with a barrage of abuse and further scepticism from anti-vaxxers.
The post was shared and reached thousands across the globe.
Taking to social media on Tuesday evening, Dr Cheyne said: "When Matthew and I spoke about the original tweet we hoped to reach some of Bradford. Never did we think it would reach worldwide and to so many people.
"I’ve followed his progress on ICU, hoping each day he would turn a corner, wanting to scream and shout at the people that said we were lying or who wrote derogatory comments about Matthew in his last few days of life.
"I was devastated to hear about this death and send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and most of all his children. #RIPMatthew #GetVaccinated #GrabAJab."
Mrs Keenan added: "He didn't do that picture for publicity, he didn't do it for himself. He just wanted to make people aware."
His younger brother Thomas Keenan said: "He wasn't the kind of person to preach to anyone but he just wanted people to know how serious it was."
‘Heart of gold’
Born in Bradford, Mr Keenan soon became a keen football fan like his father Terry and was an avid supporter of Liverpool FC. He was also a football coach for Station FC.
His younger brother Thomas said: "He had a heart of gold and once you met him you had a friend for life.
"No one had anything bad to say about him. He would do absolutely anything for anyone. All you had to do was ask."
Mr Keenan leaves behind three children - Ashlee, 14, Bobby Gerrard, 10, and Terry-Lee Suarez - named after the Liverpool football players.
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