Aside from boxing, raising awareness for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is something Macaulay McGowan, 25, of Manchester, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom is passionate about. His son Albie McGowan was born and diagnosed with the neonatal brain injury in December 2019.
What is HIE?
HIE is defined by the HIE Help Center as “a type of newborn brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow.” Generally, it is diagnosed once a physician sees signs of oxygen deprivation called birth asphyxia.
HIE can be deadly because brain cells start to die after 4 minutes without oxygen. While there is no complete cure for the condition, there is treatment to help reduce the amount of permanent neurological damage.
Also called cooling therapy, hypothermia therapy is currently the most effective treatment for HIE. It lowers the infant’s body temperature for three days to allow the damaged cells to repair themselves, according to RossFellerCasey.
How Macaulay McGowan deals with his son’s HIE diagnosis
“There’s been some heart wrenching moments and me and my partner have found ourselves in situations we would never imagined when we we first started dating as 15-year-old school kids but it’s definitely made us stronger as a individuals and as a family unit,” Macaulay shared. “In a weird way, I’ve had to accept what’s happened and learn to love it and try to become a better person for it. In all walks of life, the lessons I’ve learnt, the situations I’ve been in, I can use these and transfer them to help me with boxing. It helps my mindset, how I now prepare and what’s important and what’s not.”
David Silva, 34, is one of the inspirations of Macaulay. The Portuguese-born Cape Verdean footballer has a son who was born prematurely after only 25 weeks.
“I remember David Silva saying when his son was ill,” Macaulay said. “A lot of the lessons he found himself learning helped him in football. They helped make him a better person by putting a lot of things in perspective thus making him a better athlete.”
Macaulay is also drawing strength from his daughter Florence McGowan, 3. The undefeated boxer said, “I would be lying if I didn’t admit through some dark times in training some thoughts and emotions have helped me through, especially the way my daughter Florence has dealt with everything.”
“The things she’s had to experience and feel, the way she’s had to handle things as a 3-year-old, she’s the epitome of everything for me,” Macaulay said of his daughter. “I’m extremely proud of her more than anything.”
Macaulay McGowan vs Tursynbay Kulakhmet
As a boxer, Maucalay has been competing professionally since 2014. He currently holds a professional boxing record of 14 wins, 0 loss and 2 draw.
On November 11, 2020, Macaulay will face Tursynbay Kulakhmet, 26, of Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan at the Production Park Studios in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. They will compete for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) international super-welterweight title.
It is an “MTK Fight Night” event to be aired live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and IFL TV. Including the WBC title bout between McGowan and Kulakhmet, the fight card has seven matches.