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Park to be renamed for Medford teen who died of cancer

Sean Dixon, 16, right, was made an honorary

Sean Dixon, 16, right, was made an honorary Suffolk County police detective in August by then-Commissioner Timothy Sini, center, and Chief of Department Stuart Cameron. Credit: James Carbone

Sean Dixon, the Medford teenager who inspired friends and family as he battled cancer before he died last year, will have a permanent place in his hometown when Brookhaven officials rename the park where he played as a child.

Town officials plan to change the name of Peppermint Park, on Jamaica Avenue in Medford, to remember the Patchogue-Medford High School student, who was made an honorary Suffolk County police detective before he succumbed to cancer.

Kim Dixon, the boy’s mother, said the park’s renaming for Sean has special significance because her sports-loving son reveled in lacrosse, snowboarding and bicycling.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said in an interview Friday. “It’s really tough, but it’s the park that we took him to as a little boy. . . . He was the slide kid. He loved using the slide and the swings. He was an active little boy.”

Sean Patrick Dixon, an only child, was 16 when he died Oct. 18 after a two-year battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that had cost him his right leg.

A family friend, Det. Ed Troyano, helped arrange for Dixon to serve as a Suffolk detective last Aug. 1. Dixon was sworn in by then-Police Commissioner Tim Sini and Chief of Department Stuart Cameron at police headquarters in Yaphank.

Pictures of the boy affixing his detective’s shield to his belt touched and inspired friends and family.

“He was a kid that smiled and [would] think positive and was a lot of people’s . . . motivation that got them through their journey,” Brookhaven Councilman Neil Foley said. “He really was an inspiration to everybody, including myself.”

Foley said the park will be formally renamed once new signs are received in a few weeks.

Kim Dixon said she and her husband, Sean, are gratified knowing that future generations of Medford children will play on their son’s former playground, and pass by a sign sporting his name.

“To us, it’s as hard as anything,” she said. “But I just want to keep him alive, and this is going to help keep him alive.”

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