Solihull teen nominated for Pride of Birmingham award

charliefogarty

Charlie Fogarty is pictured with his dad Mark, mum Sara, sister Emma and brother Tommy

A brave teenager who his battling his way back to fitness after nearly being killed in an accident has been nominated for a Pride of Birmingham award.

Charlie Fogarty, aged 18, had the world at his feet four years ago. Then aged 15 the Solihull youngster had finished a four-year stint at Birmingham City FC’s Academy and was playing for Milton Keynes Dons.

But after being struck by a car while crossing the road Charlie was in a coma for four months and was left “helpless” when he eventually came round.

His father Mark, aged 52, gave up his job as football coach at Coventry City FC so he could help Charlie when he was sent to a rehabilitation centre in Surrey.

A rigorous rehabilitation programme saw him having to learn how to walk, talk, dress, eat and perform basic tasks again.

Charlie’s courage has seen him resume his studies at St Peter’s Catholic School in Solihull, and his ambitions include playing football for the Great British Paralympic team one day – he now plays football for the West Midlands Centre of Excellence Cerebral Palsy team.

“He’s a different boy but he’s making the most of it,” said Mark.

“He’s an inspiration. He’s gone from being almost dead to being determined that anything is achievable in his mind. We won’t stop him until he gets to where he wants to be.

“He was very skillful. He was also in the international squad for Northern Ireland.”

On March 17, 2012, Charlie had just got on a bus which had recently changed its route – and found himself in an unfamiliar area.

“He got off the bus disorientated,” said Mark. “He crossed over in front of the bus and was hit straight away as he was in the middle of the road.

“He had suffered a huge shaking of the brain. He came out of an induced coma around 11 days later, but remained in a coma with his eyes open for four long months.”

Charlie was transferred to the ‘Children’s Trust’ centre in Tadworth, Surrey, where he spent the next six months.

Mark said: “He wasn’t talking or eating, he was helpless and had to learn to do everything again. There wasn’t anything that was insurmountable – he would try anything.

“I gave up my job so I could be around him more and his mum Sarah never moved from his side in 10 months. She never budged. She performed a miraculous job.

“He started to walk again at the seven or eight-month stage, and his first words were down the phone to me. He said ‘Hi dad’.

When Charlie returned home in January 2011, the family accepted help and paid to keep his therapy up.

His supporters also launched fundraising activities, including sponsored walks and parachute jumps.

He was nominated for Pride of Birmingham by Handsworth Grammar School assistant headteacher Chris Conway.

The September 26 awards event at Birmingham Town Hall, organised by the Birmingham Mail in association with Virgin Trains, will celebrate the courage, caring and compassion of remarkable people who make a difference.

Celebrities will join host Gaby Roslin on the night, including Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, singers Laura Mvula, and Ruby Turner and pop legends Roy Wood and Ali Campbell.

Tickets, priced £20, are available from the Town Hall box office at www.thsh.co.uk.

Each ticket includes a donation to the £1 million campaign to set up Europe’s first Rare Diseases Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.