Matthew Keenan's mother urges people to get vaccinated after 'invincible and healthy 'son dies of Covid at 34

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-19 at Bradford Royal Infirmary on Sunday evening.

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 did not work he was put in an induced coma, but died after a week in the intensive care unit.

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Speaking exclusively to The Yorkshire Post from her home in Bradford, 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.

Matthew Keenan with his mother Theresa Keenan.

"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."

Mrs Keenan said her son had not had his vaccination against Covid-19 and had been sceptical about the virus before his own diagnosis.

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Matthew Keenan with his late father Terry Keenan.

"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."

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-19 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.

Matthew Keenan was a huge Liverpool FC supporter.

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.

Matthew Keenan has died from Covid-19 at the age of 34.

"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."

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."

Mrs Keenan said the whole family are in "total shock" following his death.

She said: "He was a fit and healthy lad. He was very very popular was Matthew.

"He was so cheeky. From a boy to a man he has always been the same. He has always had millions and millions of friends. Everyone was his friend. They weren't just friends to Matthew, they were his brothers. As well as his immediate family, his friends were his extended family.

"Growing up he was always changing his mind about what he wanted to do when he grew up. I think he would have liked to have been a big international footballer and played for Liverpool.

"He got into football because his dad was into football and so were his brothers. Football has been a big part of his life."

"He travelled all over the world watching Liverpool. He did a tour the other year with a few friends. They drove all the way to Spain. They went in a campervan to watch Liverpool play in this final."

Mr Keenan leaves behind three children - Ashlee, 14, Bobby Gerrard, 10, and Terry-Lee Suarez - named after the Liverpool football players.

Mrs Keenan said: "Matthew was the best dad in the world, you couldn't have got a better father than Matthew.

"The children are in shock. They knew he was in hospital but thought he was coming home on Monday and that they would go on holiday. He had taken them away the week before he got poorly."

Mrs Keenan says she doesn't want her son's death to be in vain and hopes his death will encourage young people to get their Covid vaccinations.

She said: "He was like anyone else really at first. He thought he was going to get better and then he would be able to come home, but he hasn't.

"I don't want Matthew's death to be in vain. I would like to think that people are going to think 'well if it can happen to him it can happen to me' .

"It is just something we can't get our heads around. You just don't expect something like this to happen. You think it will happen to other people and not you. But look at us now."

Mr Keenan's brother Thomas is also reaching out to those who believe Covid-19 is a hoax and those who don't believe in having the vaccination.

He said: "If anyone could spend just 10 minutes in the ICU seeing what these heroes are doing in the NHS, then they would walk out of there straight away and get the jab. There would be no doubt whatsoever."

Mrs Keenan also praised all the medical staff who helped her son.

She said: "The staff in the ICU at Bradford Royal Infirmary - they are the heroes. They truly are and they deserve every recognition they can get.

"They fought tooth and nail to help him and they were even in tears when he passed."

The family are now planning Mr Keenan's funeral.

Mrs Keenan said: "We want people to remember Matthew as the life and soul of the party and someone who would do anything for anyone.

"Once you met him, even if you met him for five minutes, he left a lasting impression on you and you did have a friend in life."