Darren Brown, of Swindon, contracted the dreaded meningitis at just five months steps into the ring on Saturday 16 August to raise money for Meningitis Now.
Doctors said he was ‘close to death’ when he arrived at hospital when just a months old – see the pictures below.
Thankfully, Darren, now 35, is fighting fit and goes by ring name of The Thundercat – pictured right by Richard Wintle of Calyx
As founder member of the Cirencester Wrestling Federation (CWF) he’s organised a first annual charity event in aid of Stroud-based Meningitis Now.
Twelve wrestlers are vying for trophies at Cirencester Deer Park School from 12.30pm. Bouts include a ‘divas’ female fight, tag team ‘pin anywhere’, and there is a fundraising raffle supported by local businesses. The final event, dubbed the Royal Battle, is a rumble starring most of the grapplers, with the winner the last one not to be hurled over the top rope.
Darren, originally of Cirencester, said: “I feel so lucky to survive meningitis because it was touch and go.
"I enjoy wrestling, so after launching CWF I wanted to do an annual charity event. I’ve chosen Meningitis Now because I’ve always wanted to do something to help fight the disease.
“It’ll be a fun spectacle starring top wrestlers who are guaranteed to entertain, so I hope lots of people come. It’s for such a worthy cause.”
Tickets cost £5, free for under-5s, on the door.
Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, of Alveston, launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby Spencer to the disease in 1982. He said: “We thank Darren for helping us tackle the disease – it will be an energetic, action-packed event. Every penny raised will help us continue to fight the disease on all fronts – fund preventative research, raise awareness and support survivors and their families.”
For more information on the disease, call 01453 768000.
Darren with his parents Alan and Jackie in 1979, aged four months about two weeks before contracting meningitis.
Bottom, Darren with his dad, at 7 months after his recovery