“Sepp’s diagnosis came in November 2019 and it was devastating. ATRT is a rare cancer, 5-10 kids in the UK are affected by it. He went into hospital with what my wife, Kati and I initially thought was norovirus. He was kept in overnight and it was there that he suffered two seizures. Tests subsequently showed what no parent ever wants to hear. Our lives changed forever after that point. After battling through treatment, we were then told in April last year, that no more could be done. At that point, I decided I was going to do something in his memory. It’s part of my healing process, it’s for Sepp and all the families going through the same heartbreak we have. Charities like Momentum are pivotal in how they’ve emotionally supported my wife and I, plus our son, Tate, 10.”
From Helsinki to home
“Kati is Finnish; her family are in Helsinki, where the charity bike ride starts on May 28th. In my mind, Finland is Sepp’s spiritual home; we spent many months there with family and friends when he was both ill and well. The 20-day-route goes through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France, then back to the UK and finishing the ride in Epsom, bringing together Sepp’s two homes. The finish line will be on the green by the Cricketers Inn pub. It’s where we had Sepp’s wake and it’s also close to Christ Church, where his service was held. ETA is around midday on June 17th the day before Father’s Day. I wanted to be back for that, as it’s my first one without Sepp.”
A father’s grief
“When Sepp died, it devastated us as a family. He passed away in his playroom at home; an environment he knew and felt safe in rather than a hospice, which during the pandemic, we’d have needed to wear masks and quarantine. But even in those last weeks, Sepp still had a smile on his face. He was an amazing kid, so happy, such a lovely spirit. The sense of loss is immense, there’s not a minute of the day that goes by when he’s not in in my thoughts.”
“No parent expects to bury their child. I’m not the same person I was four years ago. It’s sh*t! There’s no other way to describe it. I’ll never just wake up and think, my son died and I’m fine now. It will live with me for the rest of my life. That’s the hard bit to process and accept. I met a couple recently – through the volunteer work I do at Epsom & Ewell Refugee Network – who’d lost their child and weirdly, you know, it’s comforting to meet other people who’ve gone through the same thing. You wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but equally, it’s nice to meet people who’ve gone through what you’re experiencing; you can empathise completely, you know exactly how they are feeling. And for a moment, you feel less alone in your grief.”
Cycle 4 Sepp
17th June (Sam’s last day) is a mass participation ride. Join in at various points en route to Epsom.
Follow Sam’s journey via Instagram @cycle4sepp
All monies raised go to Momentum Children’s Charity.