Kaapo Seppanen, 37, died two years ago today.
He was as strong as an ox, incredibly smart, and had an gigantic smile.
I only knew him for three weeks – he sat on a desk opposite mine.
One day he came into work late and started packing his stuff into a box. I asked him what was happening. He said he had gone to the doctor with stomach pains, been sent to the hospital for tests, and that they had told him he had a large cancer in his stomach.
He said he was starting chemo tomorrow, that it would be intensive, and that he was unlikely to survive it.
He just looked shocked.
I asked him what he was going to do that afternoon. He said he was going to go for a run in Regent’s Park, because he felt absolutely fine, then fly home to be with his parents and begin treatment back home in Finland.
I remember thinking how strange it was, that someone so strong and so outwardly healthy could be so ill on the inside. And I remember thinking how brave he was, able to sit there and talk about it, with the struggle between defiance and fear throwing light and shadow in turn across his face.
My two team-mates and I tried gently to encourage and joke with him – he said he would try to come back and see us next summer, and we told him there would be a pint waiting for him at the bar.
But he left that day, and he never came back.
I’ve been thinking about him all morning.
Rest in peace, Kaapo.