Hero who’s looking to inspire kids
SOUTHEND UNITED’S Ben Coker is an inspiration to others – and now he’s been rewarded with the Sky Bet Football League Unsung Hero of the Month award for February.
Coker was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 15, but never let it stop him pursuing his dream to be a pro footballer.
Eleven years on and the Shimpers’ left-back is now an ambassador for Diabetes UK. He visits schools and hospitals in Essex to reassure children and parents that life can still be played out to the full.
Coker said: “Anything I can do to help the young kids is good. I hadn’t really thought of doing anything before, mainly because as a footballer in the lower leagues you don’t think that anyone’s necessarily going to take notice of you.
“But, now that Southend are going up the leagues, I’m a little bit higher profile, so hopefully I can get the message out ther e that you can live with diabetes and play at a high level. ”
Southend manager Phil Brown added: “When I see Ben dealing with his ailment and getting on with his life in the face of adversity like he does, he is an inspiration.”