Stephen Sutton was probably one of the bravest and philanthropic individuals this country has or possibly will ever see.
As of today Stephens’s original £10000 fundraising target has achieved over £3,500,000! And continues to grow daily helping The Teenage Cancer Trust continue its good works with our young people in need.
Stephen was born on 16 December 1994, I am proud to say we share the same birthday.
He attended both primary and secondary school in his home town Burntwood.
Stephen was always very active in sports and a high achiever academically attaining straight A’s from the Chase TerraceTechnology College. My understanding was that he had been interviewed by Cambridge University where it was his intention to study medicine. Stephen withdrew his application when he found that his cancer was in fact incurable.
After his diagnosis, Stephen began participating in charity events to help raise funds and the profile of The Teenage Cancer Trust and followed this with his very own website and blog in early 2013. Stephen was also very prominent on Facebook and Twitter.
With unexpected but very welcome support the funds target soon rose to £100000 and a little later £500000!
A short while ago in March of this year the goal was raised to an unbelievable £1000000. Stephen never seemed daunted by the increased targets he just drove himself harder to hit it.
Stephen has received fantastic support on his journey by such notable celebrities as Jimmy Carr, Jonathan Ross and in particular Jason Manford. Jason donated £10000 personally and gave over an entire months proceed from his new comedy club in Birmingham. He subsequently launched the now viral #thumbsupforStephen on Twitter.
Stephen hit his £1000000 target on 23rd April after his now famous Thumbs Up selfie was broadcast on Twitter, which he believed would be his last.
Ever the fighter Stephen was discharged from hospital on 2nd May and got straight back into his PR role meeting with The Prime minister that same day! Stephen was still fundraising on 4th May when he was a participant in a Guinness World Record for the most people making a heart shaped gesture. As you will imagine it was set as a new world record, Stephen didn’t ever fail to achieve.
Sadly Stephen, despite his incredible strength of character and determination still couldn’t beat his dreadful illness and on 14th May in the early hours of the morning he slipped away from us all forever.
Stephen I’m sure will however live on.
He will live on in the hearts and minds of those whose lives he touched.
He will live on in the great work of The Teenage Cancer Trust
He will live on here in his hometown of Burntwood who will never forget their most famous Son.
He will of course remain in the hearts and minds of his parents and family and my heart goes out to them as a parent and grandparent myself. I simply cannot imagine how they must feel right now but hope that with the passage of time the pain of loss eases and this will be helped by Stephens’s legacy to the world of kindness and pure selflessness.
Stephen. We will not forget you. You were a very special person, one that only comes along and touches our lives on very rare occasions. Sleep well in peace.
Stephen Sutton (16 December 1994 – 14 May 2014) Truly a great man.