Our son Kristian was a fit, healthy and happy 18-year-old. On a night out with friends in September 2010, he was approached by a stranger looking for a cigarette, who then punched my son, just once, causing him to sustain a catastrophic brain injury.
Kristian was in a coma initially which he miraculously came out of after 7 days, and I thought he was at the start of his road to recovery. Kristian sustained a frontal lobe brain injury which affected his behaviour and he needed extensive rehabilitation.
I fought hard to get him into the best rehabilitation unit, based in Northampton, some miles from home, and carried out fundraising to help with travel costs so family and friends could visit him regularly. Although he was awaiting an operation for plates to be inserted into his skull, he seemed to me to be doing okay, and I eagerly awaited full rehabilitation to commence, and ultimately, believed I would be able to bring my son home.
After two months at the rehabilitation unit, Kristian started to lose weight and had little interest in anything. I became very worried about him and kept expressing my concerns to anyone and everyone who would listen. My brave beautiful son died on 10 July 2011, he was just 19.
Losing Kristian changed mine, and my family’s, lives forever. We live with the pain every day, that’s what a single punch over a cigarette caused. I set up the charity One Punch UK with my husband, Kristian’s stepfather who he never met, to campaign, educate and support others, in memory of my son, in the hope we can prevent another family going through what mine did.