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Roots Hall role model pitches up to diabetes clinic

28 March 2016

Health Care

Southend United star Ben Coker is used to defending on the pitch but the 26-year-old was forced to go on the attack when he was told he had Type 1 diabetes as a teenager. He recently spent time at the paediatric diabetes clinic to chat to youngsters in the same boat and admitted he takes the fact he is a role model to scores of youngsters extremely seriously.

Joshua Purkiss, a healthcare assistant from Southend Hospital organised the visit by Ben, said: "I know there are lots of role models, such as Ben, out there who have not let diabetes affect their lives and so it was fantastic to have him come to the clinic and talk about his experience."

Among those who Ben met during his visit was seven-year old Ethan Miller from Southend. Ethan attends the clinic once every three months. His mum, Kirstie Miller, said that meeting and talking to people like Ben, who had not let diabetes hold them back or define them, was a powerful and influential role model for her, but most importantly her son.

She said: "It's been really helpful as Ethan's really been struggling quite a lot with his diabetes lately so meeting Ben in person and knowing all he has achieved is definitely a positive influence for him."