BY TOBY PORTER
A champion boxer has publicly thanked medics who nursed his beloved mum back to health.
Big Lewisham-raised Dan Azeez, holder of the English light-heavyweight title, gave an equally big-hearted round of applause to doctors and nurses at Lewisham Hospital after mum Maryam’s four weeks in intensive care.
His 60-year-old mother, a carer, contracted Covid-19 around April 19, and her family feared for many of the following days that she might not survive.
Dan, 30, one of her six children, said: “My mother was in a real bad state and I was told by the doctor it was likely that my mom could pass away.
“In my 30 years of living I have never seen my mother in the condition she was prior to her being admitted to the hospital – she was struggling to breathe, next to no energy, could barely speak or get up.
“Even times when my mother got worse, the NHS staff still continued to work hard to try to get her better – even though there wasn’t really much they could do after using all avenues to improve her state.
“My mum is now out of ICU and improving slowly. I speak to my mother and the doctor regularly on the phone, and the treatment she is receiving from the NHS staff is second to none.
“She is constantly praising the staff on how well looked after she is while being there.
“I wanted people to know because there seems to be a stigma amongst my community that treatment of patients is not up to scratch. I often hear
‘They don’t care about you when you’re in there’.
“But from what I am experiencing with my mother being in there currently, this is so far from the truth.
“I think it is really important for people in my community to know that the NHS staff are here to help, and they should feel at ease if ever being admitted during this pandemic.”
Dan said Maryam had been crucial in helping him to build his boxing career.
“She has been extremely important to me both in my personal life and career,” he said.
“She is my best friend and she always supports me in all of my endeavours – especially my boxing – because she knows it is a real passion of mine.
“I attribute a lot of my success to her support.”
Dan is keeping in shape, hoping to return to the sport after the end of lockdown.
He had been set to defend his title live on Sky Sports on March 20. But the show got called off in the week of the fight, just before all sport was stopped.
Currently all boxing platforms in the country are awaiting news from the British boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) on start dates.
“My aim this year was to defend my English title successfully and then go on to challenge for the British or Commonwealth titles,” he said.
“I’ve still got my mind set on doing it so it’s just a matter of when.
“At the moment I just do my daily bike rides or runs as well as home circuits in order to keep some form of conditioning, but obviously it’s never the same as putting in real hard graft down at the boxing gym.
“I’m not in any real rush – as everybody’s health and safety comes first.”
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