Friday, June 6, 2014

A brave young man

A remarkable and brave young man passed away on May the14th.  His name was Stephen Sutton and he died of bowel cancer.
At the age of 19.

His story is inspirational and full of humour, a short life well lived. Full of love and full of fun.
He was diagnosed at the age of 14 years of age At 18 he was told that the cancer had moved from curable, beyond manageable and was now terminal. So Stephen wrote down a bucket list of 46 things he wanted to do. The first was to raise £10 000 for The Teenage Cancer trust.

The figure is now over £4 000 000 and rising.

He tells it in his own words much better than I ever could. The photos are also his own.

                                 One his bucket list was a tattoo. so he got a zip on his operation scar.

"Originally all I ever wanted to do was study hard and make a difference to the world by becoming a doctor, however in light of my current circumstances I have decided to be more pragmatic with my time.
"This will involve utilizing as many short term opportunities as possible to enrich my own life experience and most importantly to try and improve the lives of others by fundraising and raising awareness of cancer in teenagers and young adults.
"Now exams are finished with I’ve written a list of things I want to achieve this year, with a large a number of things being for charity.

March 5

"£10,000 HAS NOW BEEN RAISED. Which is absolutely fantastic. I couldn't have done it without everyones help so thank you!!
"With so much going on it seems silly to stop there, so I've set a new target.... £50,000!!!

June 24
"Off to The House of Commons I go!! I'm picking up the award for the 'Most Inspirational Young Person' category.
"Just chilling at the House Of Commons feeling posh and important. There's canapés and everything (I spelt it canopies at first then my Mum had to correct me hahaha

By December

 £160,000!!! Wow!!!

"All the money raised will be going to the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity who have helped me hugely in my own battle against cancer these past few years."

January 3, 2014

"Some good news! The PET and CT scans show my cancer has not spread to any areas above my pelvis (lungs, bowel, liver, etc). The tumors in my leg have continued to get bigger but that was as expected. Now, the way forward….
"Me and the Professor in a joint decision have decided that an amputation would be the best way to move forward (albeit I wouldn’t actually be moving forward as much!!!!).

January 7

"Today is the official one year anniversary of this page!! It's crazy to think, especially looking back at all the things I've done, that 'Stephen's Story' is only one year old.
"It started off concentrating on the bucket list of 46 things I wanted to achieve in the near future, and it was pretty cool ticking things off it.
"Some of the highlights include skydiving (twice), drumming in front on 90,000 people at wembley, crowd surfing in a rubber dinghy and I'm going to stop now because this list could go on for ages.
                                          Stephen with David Cameron

"I've also had loads of opportunities that weren't on the bucket list chucked at me and it's all just been so much fun!! The page has changed my life completely.
"Alongside still being a cancer patient, I've now become a full time volunteer/motivational speaker/entrepreneur/whatever I want to be. It's been crazy and very hectic at times, but so so good and rewarding.
"Thanks for sharing the journey with me everyone, hope you've had fun too, and here's to another successful year!!

January 14
"One of the things I really miss doing is taking part in sport, so today I decided I'd have a go at playing football again!
"Armed with two crutches and only one legitimate functioning leg I went for it- and it went pretty well!! I played amputee style swinging through with my working leg.

January 24
"Today I did a talk at St James Place's annual conference meeting at the O2 arena in London!
"The event was hosted by Clare Balding and other speakers included Andrew Marr, Ben Ainslie and former South African President F. W. De Klerk- and I got a standing ovation!!
"The talk was to about 4,000 people which is by far the biggest I have ever given, and it was so much fun!! When I put 'do some public speaking' on my bucketlist I never imagined it would be to this scale!!
"St James Place Foundation will be making a donation to the Teenage Cancer Trust and I'll keep everyone updated with that. Currently I'm off to the company's Gala Dinner at Grosvenor House Hotel!! It's all a bit surreal but so exciting :)"


January 29

"Today I ticked number 30 off my bucketlist- "Hug an animal bigger than me"!!
"After a romantic date consisting of me feeding 'Five' the elephant some bread (no offence to her but she was a very messy eater), we finished off with a nice cuddle.
"When the safari park got in touch I had no idea what to expect, but no way did I expect to get this close and friendly!! In fact, not sure you can see from this picture, but it got a bit too friendly at one point an the one end of her trunk was feeling my bum haha!
"Anyway, it was great fun and such a cool experience being that close to such an amazing animal. Huge thanks to Elliot Webb from BBC Hereford and Woucester and West Midlands Safari Park for making this happen.
"When I put the item on the list no way did I think it would be a 3 and half tonne elephant, but there you go, although completing the bucketlist isn't my main aim anymore it's another item ticked off in style!!"
"Cancer is rubbish, but life is great. So I’ll just concentrate on the life part by keeping busy and positive :)

March 2

"Guinness World Records have FINALLY got back to me regarding the World Record attempt we did last year... to recap we tried for the 'Worlds Longest Continuous Group Drum Roll' and a group of us kept it going for over 30 hours, smashing the current record, but after ''thoroughly" reviewing the application we've been told the evidence we sent off was not sufficient- boo hoo!

"As a result I'm already working on TWO new events involving record attempts.... If all goes to plan I'll soon be facilitating attempts for:
- the "Most amount of tandem skydivers in 24 hours" (which currently stands at 251 people)
- and the "Largest amount of people spooning" (I'm serious!! It's currently 527 people in one room positioned one after each other)
Both should be great fun...."

April 5

"One aspect of the journey that is increasingly becoming more significant and daunting is pain control.
"After lots of thought I've decided it's time to set a new fundraising target... The current total stands at over £572k raised in just over a year so, combined with my optimism and enthusiasm, I've decided to set sights on now raising ONE MILLION- yes, one million- pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust!!"

April 21

"Yesterday evening I got very short of breath and had to go hospital via an ambulance. This morning I woke up with chest pains and was struggling to breathe.
"Currently I am in a very vulnerable position and do not know what will happen next.
"My right lung has collapsed and I am very weak (I'm finding it hard to type this message) I will fight as hard as I can, but if the worst happens I just want to say thank you all for sharing the journey with me- it's been wonderful.
"This has all happened so suddenly, but I've been lucky to get so far. Cancer sucks, but life has been brilliant :)
"The good news is that I am still here and breathing- just about! I am permanently hooked up to oxygen and unable to get out of my hospital bed though.

"I have managed to have a CT scan though today and if the result from that are suitable they might consider trying to put a stent in my chest, which may help give me a few extra days.
“Generally I am feeling very weak and the slightest bit of movement is leaving me short of breath. I am also finding it tiring to speak and even typing this message is hard work.
"Unfortunately I haven't got much time left, but I just want to reiterate to you all what a great time I've had recently.
"I don't really want to die, but hopefully my journey has influenced a lot of people for the better and taught people not to take life for granted.
"I think it has, and will hopefully continue to do so in the future, so in a situation that seems so unfair and without explanation, at least there has certainly been some purpose for me in my short time alive, which certainly helps ease the pain :)

April 22

"It's a final thumbs up from me! I've done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far.
"It's a shame the end has come so suddenly- there's so many people I haven't got round to properly thank or say goodbye too. Apologies for that.
All furture updates on this page will probably be from a family member. I will continue fighting for as long as I can, and whatever happens next I want you all to know I am currently in a good place mentally and at ease with the situation.
"That's it from me. But life has been good. Very good. Thank you to my mum and the rest of my family for everything.
"Thank you to my friends for being amazing.
"Thank you to my medical team for the hard work and effort they've continually they've put towards me.
"And thank you everyone else for sharing this wonderful journey with me. I love you all :) x

April 24 - morning
"Hi everyone, it's Stephen here- still here and still fighting!!!
"Throughout the whole journey I've been realistic about my position and at my last post I genuinely thought I was a goner....
"But hey, I'm still here!! Sunday morning my right lung collapsed: I had a full emergency team surrounding me and in all honesty was probably not too far from nearly leaving you all.
"I survived, but the following day I woke up and felt very weak- the worry was that whatever was left of my health would just continue to deteriorate.
"However, from that point on my recovery has been positive and quite unexpected. One doctor while seeing me even said how my medical notes and how I was actually doing didn't quite seem to match up.
"The progress since has continued to be good but steady. I am still in a very vulnerable position. I am very limited in what I can do and am still permanently hooked up to oxygen.
"But I am in high spirits and blessed to have so much love and support around me. To get to see the million pound fundraising target being reached was just phenomenal!
"The plan is to take things day by day. Just keep on keeping on like I always have.
"I will try and update when I can, but my health and staying alive is obviously my main priority at the moment aha.
"The battle is physically and mentally very demanding, but I am happy- and that's the main thing! :)"

April 25

"Hi guys, it's Stephen here again, and it feels so good to be able to put that. Currently I am feeling well and would describe my current situation as stable.
"Different people will put my recent physical improvement down to different reasons; I don't want to over dramatise things too much, but I do just want to mention that everyone's positive thoughts and support has been hugely appreciated, so thank you for that.
"I've always been a firm believer that people are 'good', and to see people come together for the cause recently in the way they have is incredibly touching and heartwarming.
"Thank you from me, and also thank you from every young cancer patient in the future who will benefit invaluably from the money raised!"

"In the meantime: to celebrate still being here after this crazy week, to celebrate this wonderful journey called life, and to celebrate being part of raising over £3,000,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust... Here's a huge thumbs up from me!"

"Today I had a visit from this fella... David Cameron, the Prime Minister himself!!! Pretty cool huh.
"It was a privileged experience and caps off what has been an extraordinary two weeks. Who would have thought that one thumbs up picture could have kick started so much good and influenced so many.
"I'm just happy to help, and happy to still be here.
"I then also have some more great news…I've been discharged from hospital!!

"After being at a point where it seemed like I'd never make it out it feels so awesome to be able to put that. The recovery I've undergone recently is quite remarkable.

May 3

"Tomorrow I was originally organising an event for a World Record Attempt for the 'Most amount of people spooning' to tick another item off the bucket list, whilst having a bit of fun and doing something for "World Laughter Day".
"The current record for that specific attempt has since been emphatically broken elsewhere, but there's a record attempt ('most amount of people making a heart shape hand gesture') still going ahead tomorrow, organised for me by others.
"It should be a a great event, all taking place in my hometown of Burntwood."

May 4

"Just broke a Guinness World Record for 'The most amount of people making heart-shaped hand gestures'.
"Another item ticked off the bucketlist and an all round great event to be part of!
"Huge thank you to everyone who attended (all 554 people!) and everyone else who helped make the event possible!"

May 6
"Hi everyone! Just to update you all, I have been feeling very good in myself and doing well these past few days.
"I've even had the energy to make a few appearances at local events which has been lovely, but mainly it has been a case of resting and taking things very easy at home.

May 11

"Unfortunately today I've ended up back in hospital! I had some breathing difficulties starting last night and after going to A and E have been admitted back to a ward for monitoring.
"The whole thing is very inconvenient aha. I had a few cool things planned to attend today, then tomorrow was due to appear on the telly on BBC Breakfast News!
"I understand my health is the obvious priority though and have had to cancel. Fingers crossed the issue will be resolved and that I'll be out of hospital soon, I'll keep you all updated with how I'm getting on."


May 13
"Hi everyone, this is Stephen's family. Unfortunately in the last 24 hours Stephen's condition has deteriorated to where he can no longer communicate through this page himself.
"Unfortunately the breathlessness which had him re-admitted to hospital is due to the regrowth of tumours which are blocking his airways, and not just due to infection as we had all been hoping.
"He is currently comfortable and stable, and we will let you know of any further developments. Right now however, as a family, we wish for a certain amount of privacy for us to spend what time he has remaining with him.
"We appreciate everyone's concern, and for all the love and goodwill sent his way, and indeed ours too, we thank you deeply x

May 14

"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.
"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.

His mom x"

And, if I Caro, can just add my wee postscript to this blog.  What a brave woman his mother was,  what a mature young man his brother must be. To be pulled along by that energy and emotion when they probably wanted to curl up and cry.

Caro 06 06 2014


  1. It young people like Stephen Sutton that make me feel there just might be a chance for this world. But we need his kind to survive. God bless his soul and wonderful family. You, too kiddo, for bringing tears, smiles, and hope to my morning.

  2. It young people like Stephen Sutton that make me feel there just might be a chance for this world. But we need his kind to survive. God bless his soul and wonderful family. You, too kiddo, for bringing tears, smiles, and hope to my morning.

  3. We hear so many bad things about 'young people today'
    ( a phrase that Plato used ! ) it's inspiring to know that there are Stephens about. Fittingly, I was also reading about the 19 year old computer genius who has pushed back the frontier for gene testing for cancer.

  4. What an extraordinary human being he was.

  5. Stephen got a posthumous MBE (member of the British Empire ) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list today.