ITV News Central Journalist Rosie Dowsing hears from Zoe Cooke about her campaign for bleed kits after the death of her son
A bereaved mum whose son died from a single stab wound has been nominated for a Pride of Britain award after fundraising for over 100 bleed kits.
Her son Byron Griffin, from East Leake near Loughborough, was 22 when he died from a single stab wound in Ilkeston.
He had been picking up a friend when he tried to break up a fight, and received a single stab wound from someone who was not known to him.
Zoe says the memory of that tragic day is still as vivid as ever.
She recalled: "I got to Queens Medical Centre. I said, ‘my son’s supposed to be here, someone’s told me he’s been stabbed.’"
Zoe says Byron's death might have been prevented if he'd had access to a bleed kit.
The receptionist at first said Byron wasn’t there, which gave Zoe some relief. But then she went to check again.
Zoe continued: “The receptionist came back and said ‘your son’s on his way in an air ambulance,’ and when you hear the word air ambulance, you know it’s not good.”
She said she still cries herself to sleep every night two years later, because Byron was her ‘best friend’ and a mum and son’s bond is ‘so special.’
Her main priority now is getting more bleed kits installed across Nottingham and the region, at pubs, venues and high streets.
The potentially life-saving kits can be used to stem the flow of catastrophic bleeding.
She hopes kits like these can spare more heartbreak for others.
Zoe told ITV News Central: "I’m trying to get them in as many places as I can because the thought of other parents getting that call, and going through what we’ve gone through, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.
"Potentially if there was a kit there, Byron’s bleeding could have been stemmed and potentially he could still be here now."
She has so far fundraised for over 100 kits and 20 installation cabinets, raising over £20,000.
One source of donations is a wear red campaign, where schools and offices wear red on 4th July to raise awareness, and pay a donation to do so.
Zoe also works with schools and does rallies and public speaking to raise awareness of what she calls ‘a senseless carrying of knives.’
She said the recent Nottingham attacks that saw three stab victims die in one rampage, makes the need for bleed kits all the more vital.
She said: “When that happened, it set me back tenfold.
“All I could think about is the victim’s parents. I know exactly what they’re going through.”
A bleed kit now stands at Nottingham University in honour of the attack victims, Barnaby Webber, Grace Kumar and Ian Coates, because of Zoe’s fundraising efforts.
She added: “If that’s used then they haven’t died in vein either, because that’s just the worst feeling that you’ve lost your children and you’ve lost them for nothing.
“People are too quick to pick up weapons these days. It’s devastating lives.”
Zoe is determined Byron’s legacy will live on.
She wants to establish a charity in his name, take her bleed kit campaign nationwide and see a greater focus on early prevention and education.
Zoe has been nominated for the Pride of Britain Fundraiser Award, which recognises individual fundraising efforts within the community.
It's an award sponsored by ITV regions, and the winner will be invited to the national Pride of Britain ceremony in London later this year.
The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards is one of the biggest events in the showbiz calendar - but it’s the real people, not the celebrities, who are the stars of the show.
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