STEPHEN Sutton, the teenager who raised millions of pounds for charity as he faced terminal cancer, has passed away.
Stephen, who was 19, had used social media to document his battle against the disease and became an inspirational figure to millions by the way he dealt with his illness.
His mother broke the news of Stephen’s death in a statement she posted on his Facebook page. Jane Sutton said: “My heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son who passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday 14th May.”
She added: “ The ongoing support and outpouring of love for Stephen will help greatly at this difficult time, in the same way as it helped Stephen throughout his journey. We all know he will never be forgotten, his spirit will live on, in all that he achieved and shared with so many.”
Stephen, who was 19, had been diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 15 and was told in 2012 that it was incurable.
The teenager from Burntwood in Staffordshire, had embarked on two major projects — to complete a bucket list of things he wanted to do before he died, and to raise money the Teenage Cancer Trust.
He initial fundraising target had been £10,000, but as his story became widely known donations surged and at the time of his death more than £3.2 million had been raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Donations are continuing to pour in (see below).
The charity’s chief executive, Siobhan Dunn, paid tribute to the teenager: “Stephen was an exceptional young man and ambassador for the Trust. He will be remembered for his incredible positivity by all who met or connected with him.”
Stephen had also managed to do many of the things he had put on his bucket list including: organising a charity football match, getting a tattoo, crowd surf in a rubber dingy at a gig, drumming in front of a huge crowd and skydiving for charity. He also broke a world record after he was joined by 553 friends and supporters to break the previous record of the most people to make a heart-shaped hand gesture.
Throughout his illness, Stephen used his Facebook page (see below) to keep friends and supporters updated on his condition. At one point, when he was in hospital and believed he was facing the end, Stephen posted the message: “It’s a final thumbs up from me! I think this is just one hurdle too far”. But his condition improved and he was able to leave hospital.
By that stage he had already raised just over £1m for charity. A number of celebrities, including Simon Cowell, Stephen Fry and Jason Manford (see below), who had been inspired by Stephen’s story had lent their support to the fundraising effort.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who had visited Stephen in hospital, described the teenager as an “inspiration”.
To visit Stephen’s Just Giving page, click here.
To visit Stephen’s Facebook page, click here.
To view an interview in which comedian Jason Manford talks about why he supported Stephen’s fundraising effort, click here.
To see Stephen tell his own story, click here.
To view an excerpt from an interview given by Stephen, click here.
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