Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Supporter Kevin selected as Commonwealth Games Hometown Hero

Andy Hopkinson | 25th June 2021

Congratulations to our supporter Kevin Dillon, who has been selected as just one of 14 Hometown Heroes for next year’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Viral meningitis survivor Kevin selected as Commonwealth Games Hometown Hero

Despite contracting viral meningitis as a 3-year-old child in 1987, which left him visually-impaired, self-proclaimed ‘Black Country bloke’ Kevin has channelled his energy and efforts into boxing coaching at the family-run Lions Amateur Boxing Club in Brierley Hill. 

In addition to his coaching, Kevin and three friends launched a podcast in 2019 called ‘Black Country Blokes’. Kevin’s vision for the podcast was an opportunity to talk openly about both the struggles and successes that men and boys go through, covering topics such as mental health, physical health, fitness, work, family and life in general, aiming to remove the stigma around taboo subjects. 

Disabilities don’t define you

He told us: “We say it is not that men don’t talk, it is that no-one is listening. I would like anyone reading this to remember that your disabilities don’t define you. 

“I am not a visually impaired man, I am a man who happens to be visually impaired, and in the wise words of my mum, who I love dearly, you are as good as anyone and better than most."

In his 19 years coaching, Kevin has seen hundreds of boxers pass through its doors, from the age of six to 60, and has always aimed to get the best out of them, both physically and mentally. 

Positive mindset

Kevin always tries to adopt a positive mindset yet is open about admitting his own struggles, having overcome periods of anxiety and depression throughout his life. Because of this, Kevin is a champion for all the youngsters in sport who find may also find obstacles in their way. 

Kevin was selected from hundreds of nominations to be a Hometown Hero – one of the unsung legends who dedicate everything to keeping grassroots sport alive.

Recognise diversity

Hometown Heroes celebrate and recognise the diversity of the West Midlands region by shining a spotlight on those that go above and beyond to develop sport, encourage participation and promote physical and mental wellbeing in their community.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in venues all across Birmingham and the West Midlands from 28 July until 8 August next year.

You can read more of Kevin’s fascinating story here.

Find the Black Country Blokes podcast on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. 

Watch a video of Kevin on the Commonwealth Games website:

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