Ballymena charity founder back from the brink after three-week Covid coma

A charity founder from Co Antrim who was in a coma for three weeks due to Covid is eternally grateful having been given a second chance at life.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 7:00 am
Ken Wright at home

Ballymena man Ken Wright, who is partially sighted, and his wife Christine, who is registered blind, both contracted the virus in October.

It affected Ken, who couldn’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, much worse than his wife as he went on to develop pneumonia, two more infections and a stomach condition.

The 48-year-old, who runs the Compassion Group Network charity shop in Ballymena, was put into an induced coma due to the severity of his illness.

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Ken Wright, pictured just days before he got Covid, in the Ballymena charity shop which he runs

His family tried to communicate with him via phone calls but only his granddaughter Amber and wife were able to generate a reaction – a flicker across Ken’s face.

Having become stable enough to come out of the coma Ken said he was overcome when he first heard his family and saw them again.

“It’s fair to say there were an awful lot of tears,” said Ken.

Of his slow and steady recovery he said: “I’ve had a second chance at life. My priorities are my faith and then my family, everything else comes after. I’ve had a second bite of the cherry as they say. In all honesty I do wake up every day and am grateful.”

Ken Wright after coming out of an induced coma

He added: “The nurse said I was a walking miracle. The physio was expecting it to be a good bit longer before I was on my feet. It has been very, very slow and it’s been a struggle, but I was determined to get home and get around.

“It might have taken me 10 minutes to get to the end of the estate and back and I have to go to bed for an hour, but it’s progress.

“I’m getting better physically but mentally I’m a long way from it simply because of those three weeks I lost.

“I have to draw a line under and try to build the foundation of my life. I am receiving counselling for how I’m feeling, it is quite an ordeal I’ve been through – the bottom fell out of my life really.”

Ken lost three and a half stone and much of his strength: “I used to be able to lift wardrobes into the van for the charity, now it’s a struggle to walk for any length of time.

“When I came home my wife had to help me in the shower, she had to dress me. I had difficulty standing up. That was hard to cope with.

“There was times I would cry because I thought I was a burden on my family.”

He added: “My family were fantastic. They kept the charity going. And I received a lot of positivity from people, a lot of prayers.”

Ken said: “The reason my family went public with this is because there is such a mixed message on social media about Covid-19. What we’re saying is – this is a real thing, be careful, wear a mask, stick to social distancing.”

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