As school attendance figures have slipped following the Covid pandemic, parents of neurodivergent children have
Sean Coxhead is one of the most heroic individuals I have ever had the pleasure to interview. He died yesterday.
Following more than a year of battling terminal cancer, Sean passed away peacefully with his wife in the morning of Sunday the 1st September. He leaves behind his wife, Karina, and a daughter who is 8 years old. He was only 37.
Nevertheless, he has spent the last year of his life casting an incredible legacy in the City of York. With countless fundraisers he managed to smash his target of raising £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. The total is still going up.
The first time I met Sean, I was interviewing him for a preview of the Ribbon Run he had planned. The idea was to run to make the shape of a ribbon, the symbol of Cancer research and support.
Sean and his wife welcomed me into their home and I sat down ready to interview Sean. I asked my first question about his experience with Cancer and his responce stunned me.
"It's a year on Wednesday that I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told I had one year to live."
I was thinking about it for the rest of the day while editing the video. To the extent that I accidentally spelt his surname wrong in the report.
He'd said it with such acceptance and peace that I was astonished. It's rare that a reporter has no words...but this was one of those occasions. I realised that this was more than just a battle with cancer. Sean was fighting every day to live his best life. To fundraise. To look after his wife and daughter. And to make a lasting legacy.
Then came the Ribbon Run.
Following the regular 5k parkrun on the York Knavesmire, Sean had a group of people signed up to run in the shape of a ribbon. They were also joined by people across the world who were taking part.
The run was designed by Sean to encourage people, especially those who are diagnosed with an illness, to carry on exercising and getting outside. Hence, having lived longer than the planned year after his own diagnosis, Sean dubbed the run as 'Beating Cancer to the Finish Line'.
The last time I interviewed Sean was at his event 'Bounce to Beat Cancer'. Based at Energi trampolining park in York, Sean wanted this event to be slightly different. Beyond the fundraising target, people were trying to make some new world records for seat jumps and tuck jumps.
However, Sean was noticably more tired at this event. He had a drip in his arm and had just made it out of hospital to attend. He could only stand for the length of the interview, which surprised me compared to his running just over a month before.
Regardless, Sean was there. His arrival was marked by a cheer from the centre and everyone in it. At that point I realised that Sean really had become a hero.
I made two promises to Sean a few days before he passed away.
The first is that he would be remembered. I told him that I will show people the reports I've made with him and talk about what he has done. I will tell people how legendary he was and how he really fought until the very end.
The second is that I will give his daughter a 4ft plush Unicorn.
To read Sean's story in his own words, read his blog here